This is the building Minneapolitans always forget to say they love. It's blunt and severe, but we like it anyway; it seems as if it's borrowed from some exciting cosmopolitan Metropolis where men wear hats and women's stockings have seams. You can imagine Superman flying from its upper stories. For all of its life, however, it's been inscrutable - no doctor's offices here, no small companies or travel agencies. It's all Phone Company, 100 percent, now and forever. Strange humming machinery lives here. Clacking switches, bright rooms where your hair stands on end, silent ropes carrying a thousand conversations.
The building's construction was announced in January of 1930. Cost: $3 million. Designers: Hewitt & Brown. This building began a tradition in Minneapolis architecture that continues to this day: building something that has absolutely nothing to do with the building next to it. This Moderne mountain is directly opposite the rusticated, liverish hulk of the City Hall, a gloomy fussy 19th century structure. Now this building faces a boring 80s Skidmore tower, and the brutal Hennepin County government center. Each of these four buildings thought it was modern. Only one of them looks modern today, and that's this one.