George Dayton in his office portrait
|Born||George Draper Dayton
March 6, 1857
Clifton Springs, New York, U.S.
|Died||February 18, 1938
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Resting place||Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
|Political party||Republican|
Life and career
Dayton came to the U.S. state of Minnesota from New York in 1883. His family was one of average means, and he had hoped to become a minister, but was lured by the urge to be in the business world. He married Emma Chadwick in 1878 and began buying farm mortgages in southwest Minnesota. In 1883 he and his family moved to Worthington, Minnesota where he was able to build wealth in the growing economy.
He presided over the Bank of Worthington and founded the Minnesota Loan and Investment Company, advancing his social status and prosperity. In 1890 he built a large home on eight lots, designed by Sioux Falls architect Wallace Dow. Dayton continued to live by his religious principles by improving his community and dedicating himself to the service of others; he served on the Worthington Board of Education, and was church clerk, elder, and trustee of Westminster Presbyterian Church, teaching Sunday School and hosting church events at his home.
In 1902 he purchased land on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis and founded Dayton's Dry Goods store, later to become Dayton's department store. Dayton’s dedication to service continued after his move to Minneapolis, as he continued to donate significant sums of money to the Worthington church and he established The Dayton Foundation, dedicated to promoting the welfare of mankind. In 1926, he served on the finance committee for the Community Fund, a predecessor of today's United Way. Dayton's sons David Draper Dayton (1880–1923) and George Nelson Dayton (1886–1950) continued their father's business and his commitment to the community.
- Kristal Leebrick, Dayton's: A Twin Cities Institution (The History Press, 2013). excerpt