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The Turnblad Mansion

Visit / Turnblad Mansion

The American Swedish Institute is currently in a campaign to rehabilitate the interiors and exteriors of the Mansion and Carriage House, and to reimagine the Mansion’s interior spaces for programs, gatherings and world-class exhibitions.

Learn more about this critical project.

Est. 1908

Lovingly dubbed the “Castle,” the Turnblad Mansion on the American Swedish Institute campus is stylistically unique and massive in scale. Gazing up at its impressive structure, the towering turret and steep-pitched roof are reminiscent of French Renaissance architecture known as châteauesque. The hand-carved gargoyles, decorative lions and the Mansion’s storied façade are carved out of Indiana limestone embedded with million-year-old fossils, which was mined from the same quarry as stone used in the Empire State Building.

The Mansion was built between 1904 and 1908, designed by Minneapolis architects Christopher Boehme and Victor Cordella – no doubt with input from their clients, the Turnblad Family. The Turnblad Mansion is one of only eight remaining structures built during Park Avenue’s heyday from 1885 to 1921 during a time when the street was known as Minneapolis’ Golden Mile.

The Mansion was a labor of love, and the work of master craftsmen can be found both in the exterior stone and in the woodwork and decorative plaster throughout the interior. The Mansion features 33 rooms; each room with a distinct style and décor—from Gustavian to Moorish. There are 11 tile stoves, or kakelugnar, imported from Sweden. The painted glass Visby Window oversees the Grand Hall: both unique and a vital connection to Swedish culture, for the Turnblad family a century ago and for visitors today.

The Turnblads only lived in the residence for a short time. In fact, it is believed that the house was never fully furnished. In 1929, it was donated to become what is now ASI and has created its own legacy as a gathering place and cultural center for the Swedish American community and local neighborhood.

“I had this idea in mind when I first began to build the home. I wanted it to endure to a hundred thousand years.”

Swan J. Turnblad

The Turnblad Mansion was designated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and for Heritage Preservation by the City of Minneapolis in 1974, and the journey into what it takes to preserve this historic place is ongoing. ASI continues to demonstrate its commitment to preserving the Mansion and uplifting its cultural and historical significance for future generations through ongoing restoration and preservation projects. Over the last two decades alone, ASI and the community have together contributed more than $13 million to projects that include restoration of the historic kitchen, repairs to the Mansion roof, stonework and masonry projects, repairs to the solarium, and others.

ASI has received numerous awards for this diligent attention including a 2015 Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums Buildy Award, 2014 Minnesota Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award, 2013 Finance & Commerce Magazine Top Projects of 2012 award, and 2011 Partners in Preservation Award for the Turnblad Mansion historic kitchen.

Today, the Turnblad Mansion is joined on ASI’s campus by the Nelson Cultural Center, a modern structure completed in 2012 that features expanded gallery, programming, event, retail and café spaces. Together, these buildings offer visitors to ASI an experience that weaves the past with the present, the contemporary with the historic.  Efforts today will ensure both buildings remain for generations to come.

The Turnblad Mansion Grand Hall
The Turnblad Mansion Salon
Turnblad Mansion Dining Room
Moorish Lamp in the Turnblad Mansion
Detail on one of the 11 tile stoves in the Turnblad Mansion

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The Turnblad Mansion, part of the American Swedish Institute

Support the Turnblad Mansion

ASI and the community work together to preserve the Turnblad Mansion for future generations. Contribute to ASI’s preservation fund today.

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