20th Century, Americana, Architecture, Business, Energy, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Foshay Tower

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1929
Wilbur B. Foshay builds a 32-floor headquarters for his utilities empire in downtown Minneapolis. The Foshay Tower is the tallest building in Minnesota for half a century.
The stock market crash, scarcely a month after the tower’s dedication, puts an end to Foshay’s fortune and the giddy speculation of the 1920s. The next year, the tower is put on the auction block. There are no buyers.*

Foshay was a vigorous young man who started as a gas pipefitter and electrician. By 1916, he worked his way up to owning a public utilities holding company. (A holding company is created to buy and possess the shares of other companies, which it then controls.) *** “By 1928, he was a prosperous man, at least on paper. His company owned utilities in thirty states, the then-territory of Alaska, Canada, and Central America.” **

“Foshay built the Foshay Tower in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which opened in August 1929. In 1932 he was convicted of conducting a “pyramid scheme” with shares of his own stock. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. President Franklin Roosevelt commuted 10 years from Foshay’s sentence, but Foshay only actually served three years in Leavenworth because of “good behavior.” President Harry Truman granted Foshay a full and unconditional pardon in 1947.” ****

What do You wish to say through Foshay’s tower story, Eternal Father? Let us listen and reflect with You, and more completely know Your heart. What is it that You affirm about this man and his age, and what is it that You wish to correct?

To begin, I see a man who started simply working hard in the field he loved; providing utilities. It seems to fit his character as an entrepreneur and a man of enthusiasm. Was it this same vitality that created the conditions for his downfall?

Like Foshay, we are drawn to play to our strengths, but sometimes are blinded by our own glory. We lose our ability to harness our zeal, and do not operate with the self- control required to better use our giftings. Will You forgive Foshay the excesses of his spiritedness against Your will? Will You forgive us where we resist You today, not yielding an inch to be called out of the comforts of our best attributes if it means humbling ourselves before You or others?

Conversely, will You forgive the judgements of Foshay’s detractors? Will You forgive any jealousies of his competitors in public utilities? Will You forgive those who modeled or endorsed the corrupt practices of his “pyramid scheme”?

All of us, high to low, have fallen prey to greed at some level. Men like Foshay inflate the value of their stock, bankers and politicians hide debt by devaluing currency, and the poor commit fraud against all kinds of social services overdrawing on the charity of society. We have negated fair rules and have sought a deck stacked for us and against our neighbor; have mercy!

All of us, low to high, have taken the bait of envy. We have made ourselves look better than we really are, and have underscored the flaws of our equals to get ahead. Will You forgive us this debt to give honor back to our peers? Will You forgive our lack of gratitude for our competitors, or the awareness that You have uniquely positioned them (by Your wisdom) in our lives?

Regardless of internal motives, we acknowledge the work of Mr. Foshay, and the iconic tower still bearing his name. We are grateful that You understand us: whether we build empires with bad hearts, or have a poor work ethic with good hearts. We honor Your acceptance as the highest tower over our city. You are the Master Builder. Amen!

And then he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I’ll store all my grain and goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat drink and be merry.” ‘
But G-d said to him, ‘You fool! this very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward G-d.” ***** Luke 12:16-21 NIV

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** An excellent summary of Foshay’s life by Britt Aamodt. http://www.mnopedia.org/person/foshay-wilbur-1881-1957
*** https://www.bing.com/search?q=definition+of+holding+company&form=APMCS1&PC=APMC
**** Excerpt from the Salida, Colorado museum where Foshay palyed a key role in the Chamber of Commerce after pardon. https://salidamuseum.org/history/wibur-foshay/
***** http://biblehub.com/context/luke/12-16.htm

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19th Century, Energy, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

First Hydroelectric Central Station

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1882
The falls of St. Anthony power the first hydroelectric central station operating in the United States. People had been using water to run machinery for thousands of years, but those machines were located alongside the water. Now, water can generate power for machines far from the river. The new technology changes the shape of the city. Minneapolis industries that had clustered along the waterfront gradually move away. In 50 years, downtown will have turned away from the river to face the inland financial district; the streets closest to the river will be slums.*

We are part of an heritage of innovation: as both your children, and the citizens of this state. Thank you! Because You are present to all times, I ask this blessing on those who conceived, built, and operated the Hydroelectric Central Station.                                             May all be blessed in the name and authority of Jesus. May you, your generations past, present, and future be blessed with the infinite power of the Holy Spirit of Hydraulics! May your heritage of science, engineering, and any other technologies flourish in this state and bless the whole world.
Conversely, may our expertise have a balance of humility. May our Hydro-technologists be in awe of Your technology: creation, creatures, and the universe. May they treat each other respectfully and not quash new technologies before they are developed. Amen!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**More detail? http://www.mnopedia.org/event/hydroelectricity-minneapolis-september-5-1882

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, Architecture, Business, Civics, Energy, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Industry at St. Anthony Falls 1872

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Minneapolis industries cluster around the power of St. Anthony Falls. The Minneapolis Board of Trade estimates that the 95 waterwheels at the falls produce 6,000 horsepower.*

Lord, thank you for the gift of the Mississippi and those who harnessed its power. Thank You for the individuals and groups that contributed to its’ planning and investment? You work through those who skillfully manage money! Will You bless the entrepreneur? You work through those who take major risks to create business? Too often we are guilty of failing to properly acknowledge the reflection of Your glory through the wonderful skills of tradesmen and women! Will You bless these and their generations’: the cement worker, the engineer, the steel worker, the electrician, the riggers, the teamsters, and any other who labored on these projects?
Lord forgive us the sin of loving ‘science’ while simultaneously negating your creation. You had a plan for this city far before we began to envision what was possible. You created many electrical systems as well as the principals of hydraulics and physics in nature long before we were alerted to their existence.
How many more mysteries do You have to reveal to us? Forgive this root of ‘scientific pride’ in Minnesota. Will You replace it with humility and eternal curiosity that makes us better stewards of Your creation, technological advancement, and more receptivity to Your ideas?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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19th Century, Agriculture, Business, Civics, education, Energy, farming, government, History, horses, Intercession, Jesus, livestock, Medicine, Minnesota

Energy Crisis 1872

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Epizootic fever strikes horses throughout the Midwest. The three-month sickness plunges horse-powered Minnesota into its first energy crisis.*

I need to let this one simmer for a bit; “the three-month sickness plunges horse-powered Minnesota into its first energy crisis.” It’s hard to relate to this not-so-distance past when “horse-power” really meant the labor of a workhorse. I believe it was as late as W. W. II when the majority of Minnesotans still lived on farms, and felt this connection to living “horse-power. (I still need to let this steep.)

There’s something good about the connection between human and horse. Your draft animal as a precious commodity, means of production, and even friend?! A car with a face? A tractor with a face? A companion who saw the same sights, and explored the same paths as its master?

Below is some documentation of the breadth and width of this epizootic fever.
“Beginning in Toronto, Canada, in the late summer of 1872, in only three days the disease hit nearly all the livery stables and the horses used to pull streetcars in that city. By mid-October, horses in all of Canada, Michigan and the New England states were infected. By the beginning of November the disease had spread to Illinois, Ohio and South Carolina. By the end of the month, Florida and Louisiana reported cases.” http://www.heritagebarns.com/the-great-epizootic-of-1872/#.V9s-fmPSfVo

Holy Spirit, today I remember the I remember this equine flu epidemic of 1872. I accede to Your will in the relationship between the suffering of animals and the people of this state. I acknowledge the contribution of veterinarians to the well-being of these individual animals, and indirectly to our state.

Will You forgive us any judgments made against Your goodness or holiness because of the epizootic fever then? You care about each detail of our lives, and of each creature in Your world. We give You thanks for these horses past, and sincerely thank You for Minnesota’s present stock. We ask Your blessings on each colt, filly, mare, stallion, bronco, foal, and gelding that will walk the North Star state in perpetuity!

The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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