In 1899, James J. Hill purchased land on the shores of the Saint John River, in Québec, Canada. He also leased exclusive fishing rights from the government of Québec for an annual fee of $3,300.
Hill’s fishing lodge was designed by Hill’s Great Northern Railway architect James Brodie. The property also had bunkhouses for the canoe men and guides, storage sheds, and an ice/snow house.
Hill’s annual salmon fishing trips to the river were the only set vacations he had. Every year he invited close friends and family members to enjoy a fishing holiday. They fished and kept a record of each person’s catch, the weight and where it was caught. The salmon were quickly packed in ice and soon after taken by canoe to the yacht, where they were refrigerated and sent off to family, friends and business associates.
The lodge on the Saint John River is still owned by Hill family descendants, and still fished every year.
To learn more about the Hill Fishing Camp, come see our mini-exhibit, ‘Summertime With the Hill Family,’ now on display at the James J. Hill House. mnhs.org/hillhouse.org
Photos: James J. Hill fishing on the St. John River, ca. 1910; Hill’s fishing lodge, ca. 1901.