The 32-story Art Deco style building was the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi and the first in the city built higher than City Hall. It held the tallest building title until 1972 when the IDS Center was built. Envisioned by Wilbur Foshay, a utility company magnate, it was designed to mimic Washington D.C.’s Washington Monument, with each floor slightly smaller than the one that sits below. Slightly set back from the street, a two-story structure surrounds it on two sides. On the other two sides, the 17-story TCF Tower obscures the view from the first seven floors of the Foshay. On the Marquette Avenue side, the name, "Foshay," can be seen four times in the exterior concrete (at the top and in three places at street level).
Foshay ensured the dedication ceremony would be memorable. Each guest was given a gold pocket watch and John Philip Sousa was on hand to conduct a new march he wrote for the occasion. Six weeks later, the Great Depression stripped Foshay of his riches and his check to Sousa bounced. In retribution, the march was not permitted to be played again until investors repaid Foshay’s debt to Sousa’s estate in 1988.
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. In 2008 the Foshay was converted to the W Hotel. The 30th-floor observation deck was retained and the former Foshay boardroom became the Prohibition Sky Bar.