Julie M. Evans

If you’re looking for an interesting and cool (as in temperature) tourist destination in the Minneapolis area this hot July, may I suggest visiting the castle-like Turnblad Mansion at the American Swedish Institute.

I’m not Swedish, so I’d never thought of visiting the ASI until I did volunteer work Saturday at the opening of the institute’s new addition. I was so intrigued that I took house guests from out of state back to the institute this week. We enjoyed not only the mansion but also the tapestry and carving exhibits.

The 33-room, French Chateauesque-style Turnblad Mansion was completed in 1908 for a Swedish immigrant who owned an American Swedish newspaper. The exterior boasts intricate stone carvings, steeply pitched roofs, gargoyles and turrets. As my guest noted, it’s not every day that you see gutters disappear into lions’ mouths.

A two-story, hand-carved mahogany fireplace is the focal point of the majestic…

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