Lunchtime tourist

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May 31, 2004 // UPDATED 1:49 pm - April 25, 2007
By: da Koutsky
da Koutsky

Summer Scavenger Hunt 2

Put on your thinking cap, here's part two of the Lunchtime Tourist's summer scavenger hunt.

First, you have to guess the location. Then go there -- and prove it by answering the "scavenger question." The person with the most correct answers most quickly submitted wins a free membership to the Hennepin History Museum.

Upcoming scavenger hunts: Mondays July 5 and Aug. 2.

Billed as the "best known address in the Northwest," this 447-foot tall building was considered the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi River.

The steel-framed building cost $3.75 million, and its sides are faced with Indiana limestone. Both the "New York Times" and "London Times" ran articles about the building when it opened with great fanfare. The three-day celebration (which began Aug. 31) cost $116,000. Fireworks, modern dance performances, lavish banquets and a 75-piece band -- complete with a commissioned march about the building -- entertained more than 25,000 participants.

Once inside, lavish decor surrounded tenants and the building's many visitors. Imported Italian marble, multicolored terrazzo floors, wrought iron grillwork, cut-glass chandeliers, faux-painted skies and bronze relief elevator doors exuded wealth.

But the wealth didn't last. The public utilities businessman who owned the building and planned to live on two upper floors, lost everything in a stock market crash just months after the grand opening. By mid-December, the building was in receivership. To make matters worse, the owner was indicted on mail fraud and ended up spending three of 15 years in Leavenworth. His sentence was commuted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt then pardoned by President Harry Truman.

Although most Downtowner's know his name today, in 1957, the building's namesake died in near anonymity in a Minneapolis nursing home.

Scavenger question: A Hennepin History Museum panel in the building's lobby shows photos of this destination. In what year were they shot?

E-mail your answers to thelunchtimetourist @hotmail.com before Monday, June 7 when the destination will be revealed.

LUNCH TIP: Maybe it's in the building, or maybe it's across town, but have a blue plate special at Peter's Grill, 114 S. 8th St.