My annual holiday visit to the American Swedish Institute is something I look forward to all year long. As many of you know, I love visiting the ASI, especially the Turnblad “Castle,” and attend a number of events there throughout the year. That being said, I think my favorite time to visit is during December, when the castle can be seen in all of its holiday glory.
The impressive two-story entrance hall.
Lower half of the two-story fireplace.
Upper half of the two-story fireplace.
The castle, located on Park Avenue in Minneapolis, was built by Swan and Christina Turnblad in the early 1900’s. Swan Turnblad was the son of a farmer who rose to the status of millionaire through his investments, and Amerikanska Posten, the Swedish language newspaper that he owned. Eventually he would need a house worthy of his new wealth, and so in 1903 architects Christopher Boehme and Victor Cordella were contracted to design the beautiful French Chateauesque mansion they would later call home.
The family moved into the house in 1908, but unfortunately only lived there for twenty years, before moving out in 1929 following Christina’s death. The mansion was then donated as a museum to house the newly formed American Swedish Institute, which was established by Turnblad to preserve Swedish customs and culture.
Through the foresight of Swan Turnblad this beautiful mansion as been preserved rather than torn down to make way for newer buildings. While this home is truly a gem, it is at Christmastime that it especially shines.
During the holidays, the mansion is decked out in yards of green garlands and wreaths finished with beautiful red bows to celebrate the Christmas season. In addition to the greens, each of the rooms is decorated to depict Christmas in a different Scandinavian country, and the finished product is spectacular.
My annual holiday visit to the American Swedish Institute is something I look forward to every year. Its beauty delights and inspires me, and gives me new ideas to try with my own holiday decorating at home.
My friend Cliff found a festive holiday ride.
Each year the ASI hosts a holiday room dedicated to a guest country. This year the country was Romania.
Christmas trees around the castle.
This year’s theme is Fest! Merry Mansion - Nordic Holidays, and the exhibit runs through January 7. If you’ve never been to the ASI, this is the perfect opportunity to visit for the first time, and if you’re a veteran of the museum, this is one of the most beautiful times of the year to experience it again. It truly is Minneapolis' Holiday Castle.