During his lifetime James J Hill was the CEO of The Great Northern Railway which served an enormous region in the Upper Midwest, the Northern Great Plains and the Pacific Northwest. He was known as The Empire Builder for his work and now you can visit his Palace, his former mansion, the James J. Hill House in Saint Paul, Minnesota. With a massive 36,000 square feet of living space the house is hugely impressive and tours are available year round to the site.
Things to Do
- The regular tour of the house lasts for 75 minutes and one starts every half an hour Wednesday - Sunday. Visitors are led for a guided walk through the mansion hearing stories of the people who lived there through the years along with stories of their servants.
- There are also explanations of the inventive mechanical structures to be found through out the house, the stunning architecture and decorations and some history about James J Hill and his life.
- For $2 extra you can enter the Mansion's art gallery along with the music room and drawing room. Changing exhibitions of Minnesota artists can be found in the gallery.
- Special events are organized for children throughout the year. Around Christmas you can take part in the Hill House Holidays where actors play members of the Hill family, their servants and others as they prepare for the holidays. A large Egg Hunt is also held on the grounds every year for children between the ages of 2 and 7.
James J Hill Mansion Insider Tips
- Entry to the Mansion is free for children under 5 and also for members of the Minnesota Historical Society.
- Go along on St. Patrick's Day for the mansion's Irish Heritage celebration.
- It can be better to go on a sunny day since, to remain as authentic as possible; the mansion is only powered by 15 watt light bulbs. Needless to say things can be a little dim if it's a cloudy day!