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An Empire Built on Paper: Foshay Trial Exhibit

Wilbur Foshay considered himself to be a mover, shaker, and dreamer. Born in 1881, he created a financial empire buying and selling public utilities companies. He built the Foshay Tower, which still stands in downtown Minneapolis, as his headquarters. Modeled after the Washington Monument, the building opened two months before the stock market crashed in October, 1929. Foshay's financial empire also crashed.

Foshay was convicted of mail fraud and sent to prison. He was pardoned by President Truman. Foshay died in Minneapolis in 1957.

A display depicting the trials of Wilbur Foshay was open to the public on the first floor of the Federal Courthouse in Minneapolis through the end of 2011. The display tells the story of how Foshay built his tower with non-union help in a union town, the personalities involved in his two mail fraud trials, and the sad circumstances of the sole female juror.

Below are PDF versions of each display panel. Click on the links to view each panel.