April 19, 1871: Birth of iron mining magnate George P. Tweed

On this day in 1871, George P. Tweed was born in Warsaw, Minnesota, the oldest son of eleven children born to Norwegian immigrants Evan and Anna Tweed. According to one biographer, Tweed “came to Duluth when about sixteen years of age…. At the age of eighteen, after leaving school, he entered the real estate and loan business, and as a broker and handler of real estate properties he operated alone until about 1900. In that year Mr. Tweed became associated in the iron ore business.” By 1920 Tweed and his partners had developed  roughly twenty iron mines on Minnesota’s iron ranges. In 1908 Tweed married Faribault native Alice Lyon, described as “a woman of accomplishments both in her home and outside, deeply interested in church affairs.” They had no children of their own but adopted a daughter, Bernice. George Tweed died on April 30, 1946. Four years later Alice donated their house at 2531 East Seventh Street, as well as the couple’s extensive collection of 19th- and early 20th-century European and American paintings, to the University of Minnesota Duluth. The school used the house as an art gallery until 1958, when the Tweed Museum of Art—financed by Alice Tweed—was built on the UMD campus. The house then served as UMD’s Provost’s residence for a number of years. Today it is a private residence.

Portrait of George. Tweed painted in 1930 by Sidney Edward Dickinson. (Image: Tweed Museum of Art)

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