This is the sort of building they could not abide in the 50s and 60s. It wasn't modern. It wasn't sleek. Its ornamentation - heaven forbid - obscured its structure. It was laden with ornamentation; those gigantic protuberances on the top must have made any right-thinking modernist just shudder with horror. Its white bands suppressed its verticality. The ponderous collanade oozed self-satisfaction, pompous monumentality, ersatz historicism that smothered the brave future with the dead hand of the past. Tear it down!
This was one of two New York Life Insurance buildings in the Twin Cities; St. Paul had one, although it was done in a Northern European style. This one is more classical in form, but inside it had an extraordinary Art Nouveau double-spiral staircase.
Just imagine: they built this out of materials dragged to the site by animals. In fact, as bucolic as this picture appears, the streets no doubt stunk of horse crap.
The decorations achoring the corners of the rooftop, incidentally, weighed five thousand pounds each.
Additional note,: the little arch on the right side of the picture was part of the ground-floor retail arcade, and put there in case anyone should build a skyscraper next door - they couldn't rise up flat against the building, but would have to stand apart.