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James J. Hill House, Saint Paul

(4.6/5 based on 340+ reviews on the web)
The James J. Hill House in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States, was built by railroad magnate James J. Hill. The house, completed in 1891, is near the eastern end of Summit Avenue near the Cathedral of Saint Paul. The house, for its time, was very large and was the "showcase of St. Paul" until James J. Hill's death in 1916. It is listed as a U.S. National Historic Landmark, operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. It is also a contributing property to the Historic Hill District.The home has 36,000 square feet (3,344 square meters) of living area.HistoryHill bought three lots on Summit Avenue in 1882, during an era when wealthy citizens were scrambling to build fashionable homes in the neighborhood. The street offered a commanding view of downtown St. Paul and the Mississippi River area, making it a highly desirable location. The family previously lived in the Lowertown area in St. Paul, near Ninth and Canada streets. As new warehouses and railroad tracks crowded the Lowertown residential area, and as Hill's collection of paintings and sculpture overflowed the house, the Hill family thought it was desirable to move. Hill also realized that recent improvements in home technology, such as electric lighting, plumbing, ventilation, and fireproofing, could be incorporated into a new home. Moreover, since Hill was becoming a socially prominent person in the community, a new home would stand as a tribute to his status as the "Empire Builder".
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This was once the largest and most expensive home in Minnesota. It is a wonderful tour and you can almost imagine what its was like to live in grandeur in the late 1800's. The home features it's own a...  more »
  • This is the most amazing home :) James J. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway. I have so much to say. It's a fun adventure. Great tour guides and a mansion that still has retained its beauty.  more »
  • Interesting to see a house of such grandeur. Fun to learn about its history and how people lived that lifestyle.  more »
Google
  • Well the whole family had worked for the Great Northern and Burlington Northern so I had to check this out. What an amazing place! I am glad they got it back from the church and it can be seen now! Really advanced for its time. Electricity wired in that early, amazing. The tour guide was in costume and kind of acted out the role. I really enjoyed this historical monument. Hill was a captain of industry, so probably not the best guy to his workforce but his home was amazing. We spent hours checking out the homes of this district. Jaw droppers all over the place.
  • Very informative tour that gave a cross-section of the industrial history of St. Paul area in the late 19th and early 20th century. The house needs a little more work though.
  • Great tour and fascinating history. If you get Bev as your guide you have hit the jackpot. She is as funny, witty, informative, and charming as you can get!
  • The nooks and crannies tour was really cool. Our tour guide was friendly and fun. I learned a lot about the house and how things were done and built back then.
  • I've lived in western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota my entire life and I had never been here before. It was a great little piece of history and I enjoyed learning about it! Very knowledgeable and lively tour guides. Could use a better TV for the video portion, though.