James J. Hill House

James J. Hill House Rugged stone, massive scale, fine detail, and ingenious mechanical systems recall the powerful presence of James J. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway.

Guides lead tours that help you imagine family and servant life in the Gilded Age mansion.

Operating as usual

Musical ornament.  #DailyDetails
09/20/2021

Musical ornament. #DailyDetails

Musical ornament. #DailyDetails

Laundry drying racks.  #DailyDetails
09/19/2021

Laundry drying racks. #DailyDetails

Laundry drying racks. #DailyDetails

Desk.  #DailyDetailsThis desk, now on display in James J. Hill's bedroom, was once in James J. Hill's office in the Grea...
09/18/2021

Desk. #DailyDetails

This desk, now on display in James J. Hill's bedroom, was once in James J. Hill's office in the Great Northern Building in St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood.

Desk. #DailyDetails

This desk, now on display in James J. Hill's bedroom, was once in James J. Hill's office in the Great Northern Building in St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood.

Bedroom overmantel.  #DailyDetails
09/17/2021

Bedroom overmantel. #DailyDetails

Bedroom overmantel. #DailyDetails

Utility access panel.  #DailyDetails
09/16/2021

Utility access panel. #DailyDetails

Utility access panel. #DailyDetails

Chandelier.  #DailyDetails
09/15/2021

Chandelier. #DailyDetails

Chandelier. #DailyDetails

Picture frame.  #DailyDetails
09/14/2021

Picture frame. #DailyDetails

Picture frame. #DailyDetails

Boiler Room steps.  #DailyDetails
09/13/2021

Boiler Room steps. #DailyDetails

Boiler Room steps. #DailyDetails

Pilaster carving.  #DailyDetails
09/12/2021

Pilaster carving. #DailyDetails

Pilaster carving. #DailyDetails

Gold-plated ventilation grate.  #DailyDetails
09/11/2021

Gold-plated ventilation grate. #DailyDetails

Gold-plated ventilation grate. #DailyDetails

Mantelpiece frieze.  #DailyDetails
09/10/2021

Mantelpiece frieze. #DailyDetails

Mantelpiece frieze. #DailyDetails

Column base.  #DailyDetails
09/09/2021

Column base. #DailyDetails

Column base. #DailyDetails

Silver engraving of James J. Hill.  #DailyDetailsA companion to yesterday's Daily Detail, this portrait engraved on one ...
09/08/2021

Silver engraving of James J. Hill. #DailyDetails

A companion to yesterday's Daily Detail, this portrait engraved on one side of a silver punchbowl features a portrait of Hill as he appeared in 1893, surrounded by a map of the newly-completed Great Northern Railway, stretching from St. Paul to Seattle. (The reverse showed Hill as he appeared in the 1860s, surrounded by his early warehouses and river trade businesses.) The bowl was given to James J. Hill by the City of Saint Paul at a massive banquet held in his honor on June 9, 1893, in celebration of the completion of the Great Northern Railway.

Silver engraving of James J. Hill. #DailyDetails

A companion to yesterday's Daily Detail, this portrait engraved on one side of a silver punchbowl features a portrait of Hill as he appeared in 1893, surrounded by a map of the newly-completed Great Northern Railway, stretching from St. Paul to Seattle. (The reverse showed Hill as he appeared in the 1860s, surrounded by his early warehouses and river trade businesses.) The bowl was given to James J. Hill by the City of Saint Paul at a massive banquet held in his honor on June 9, 1893, in celebration of the completion of the Great Northern Railway.

Portrait of the Empire Builder as a Young Man.  #DailyDetailsThis portrait is engraved on one side of a silver punchbowl...
09/07/2021

Portrait of the Empire Builder as a Young Man. #DailyDetails

This portrait is engraved on one side of a silver punchbowl, given to James J. Hill by the City of Saint Paul at a massive banquet held in his honor on June 9, 1893, in celebration of the completion of the Great Northern Railway. One side of the punch bowl features a portrait of James J Hill (shown here) as he appeared in the 1860s, surrounded by Hill's early warehouses and river trade businesses. The other side features a portrait of Hill as he appeared in 1893, surrounded by a map of the newly-completed Great Northern Railway, stretching from St. Paul to Seattle.

Portrait of the Empire Builder as a Young Man. #DailyDetails

This portrait is engraved on one side of a silver punchbowl, given to James J. Hill by the City of Saint Paul at a massive banquet held in his honor on June 9, 1893, in celebration of the completion of the Great Northern Railway. One side of the punch bowl features a portrait of James J Hill (shown here) as he appeared in the 1860s, surrounded by Hill's early warehouses and river trade businesses. The other side features a portrait of Hill as he appeared in 1893, surrounded by a map of the newly-completed Great Northern Railway, stretching from St. Paul to Seattle.

#OnThisDay in 1917, Mary T. Hill wrote in her diary, “In the afternoon, Clara and I went to the Fair to see a Military P...
09/06/2021

#OnThisDay in 1917, Mary T. Hill wrote in her diary, “In the afternoon, Clara and I went to the Fair to see a Military Parade of four regiments, 3 regulars. Mostly all look so young. How important music is [to] the Army.”

The United States’ entry into the First World War transformed the Minnesota State Fair of 1917. Government rationing of gasoline, food, and railroad transit made many normal fair activities impossible. Many thought that the fair should be canceled. Instead, organizers reframed the fair as a “Food Training Camp” that showed Minnesotans how to produce and conserve resources vital to the Allied war effort, promoted the sale of War Bonds, and rallied support for the war with military displays.

For more information of the 1917 State Fair, check out this article from MNopedia: https://www.mnopedia.org/event/minnesota-state-fair-1917

#mnstatefair #MTHdiary #OTD #mnopedia

#OnThisDay in 1917, Mary T. Hill wrote in her diary, “In the afternoon, Clara and I went to the Fair to see a Military Parade of four regiments, 3 regulars. Mostly all look so young. How important music is [to] the Army.”

The United States’ entry into the First World War transformed the Minnesota State Fair of 1917. Government rationing of gasoline, food, and railroad transit made many normal fair activities impossible. Many thought that the fair should be canceled. Instead, organizers reframed the fair as a “Food Training Camp” that showed Minnesotans how to produce and conserve resources vital to the Allied war effort, promoted the sale of War Bonds, and rallied support for the war with military displays.

For more information of the 1917 State Fair, check out this article from MNopedia: https://www.mnopedia.org/event/minnesota-state-fair-1917

#mnstatefair #MTHdiary #OTD #mnopedia

Happy Labor Day from the James J. Hill House!The Labor Day holiday was created in 1894, following an unprecedented wave ...
09/06/2021

Happy Labor Day from the James J. Hill House!

The Labor Day holiday was created in 1894, following an unprecedented wave of labor conflicts and industrial unrest. The United States was then in the midst of the most severe economic depression it had yet seen, and employers had responded with widespread layoffs and wage cuts. As the depression deepened, workers began to push back by going on strike. During the spring of 1894, over 750,000 Americans participated in overlapping strikes to demand better pay, including garment workers in New York, dock workers in New Orleans, and iron miners and lumber millers in Northern Minnesota. The largest strikes were in the coal industry, where walkouts of nearly 200,000 miners shut down coal production nationwide.

Most of these strikes were “wildcat” strikes undertaken by workers without any union affiliation or authorization. Many of the union-led efforts were equally disorganized. Across the country, violent conflicts frequently broke out between strikers and authorities, and between strikers and strikebreakers. Ultimately, nearly all of the strikes of 1894 ended in failure. One notable exception stood out—the strike on James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railway.

The Great Northern was one of few railroads still turning a healthy (albeit diminished) profit during the depression. This did not stop manager James J. Hill from cutting wages. By the spring of 1894, Great Northern workers were facing their third wage cut within a year. Many Great Northern workers had joined the American Railway Union (ARU), a new “industrial union” open to anyone who worked in the rail industry. On April 12th, 1894, the ARU voted to strike, and the next day 9,000 workers walked out, shutting down Hill’s railroad.

Under the leadership of organizer Eugene V. Debs, the Great Northern Strike remained remarkably peaceful. As the strike entered its third week, James J. Hill felt pressure from Minneapolis industrialists—whose businesses depended on Hill’s railroads—to negotiate. Hill readily accepted an offer from flour mogul Charles Pillsbury to chair an arbitration committee formed entirely of Minneapolis businessmen, assuming that his fellow industrialists would side with him.

To Hill’s surprise, the committee agreed to nearly all of the union’s demands. This was the first union victory over a national corporation. As word spread, ARU membership swelled to over 150,000, more than all other unions combined.

Full of confidence after his victory over Hill, Eugene Debs immediately threw the weight of his union in support of striking workers in the factories of the Pullman Palace Car Company, who manufactured sleeper cars used by every railroad in the country. Pullman required workers to rent housing from the company, but had slashed employee wages without lowering rents. Under Debs’ leadership, the American Railway Union announced it would boycott the Pullman company, refusing to move any train with a Pullman car attached.

In the days before freight and passenger service were separate, nearly every train had a Pullman car. The ARU boycott resulted in a two-month shutdown of nearly all rail traffic in the United States.

President Grover Cleveland deployed 12,000 Federal troops to rail yards across the country to force strikers to break up their picket lines. The arrival of troops escalated an already tense situation, and long-simmering anger boiled over into vandalism and violence. At least 30 strikers and four soldiers were killed, with many hundreds injured on both sides, and $80 million of property destroyed (approximately $2.5 billion in today’s dollars). Alarmed, the President declared all strike activity to be an insurrection and ordered a nationwide curfew, effectively putting the country under martial law. Debs and other union leaders were promptly arrested. The American Railway Union quickly fell apart.

Cleveland’s forceful actions during the Pullman boycott were deeply controversial. In an effort to assuage pro-labor voters, Cleveland sent a message to congress, urging the creation of a new Federal holiday: Labor Day, to be celebrated on the first Monday in September. Within days, Congress had passed the bill.

Labor Day has been celebrated across the US on the first Monday in September ever since.

#laborday #laborhistory

Image: An early labor day parade in Philadelphia in 1882. (Library of Congress) Before the creation of the Federal Labor Day in 1894, twenty-three states already had their own Labor Days. Most were on May 1st, a date that soon became associated with radical politics (hence Cleveland’s preference for a September date).

Happy Labor Day from the James J. Hill House!

The Labor Day holiday was created in 1894, following an unprecedented wave of labor conflicts and industrial unrest. The United States was then in the midst of the most severe economic depression it had yet seen, and employers had responded with widespread layoffs and wage cuts. As the depression deepened, workers began to push back by going on strike. During the spring of 1894, over 750,000 Americans participated in overlapping strikes to demand better pay, including garment workers in New York, dock workers in New Orleans, and iron miners and lumber millers in Northern Minnesota. The largest strikes were in the coal industry, where walkouts of nearly 200,000 miners shut down coal production nationwide.

Most of these strikes were “wildcat” strikes undertaken by workers without any union affiliation or authorization. Many of the union-led efforts were equally disorganized. Across the country, violent conflicts frequently broke out between strikers and authorities, and between strikers and strikebreakers. Ultimately, nearly all of the strikes of 1894 ended in failure. One notable exception stood out—the strike on James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railway.

The Great Northern was one of few railroads still turning a healthy (albeit diminished) profit during the depression. This did not stop manager James J. Hill from cutting wages. By the spring of 1894, Great Northern workers were facing their third wage cut within a year. Many Great Northern workers had joined the American Railway Union (ARU), a new “industrial union” open to anyone who worked in the rail industry. On April 12th, 1894, the ARU voted to strike, and the next day 9,000 workers walked out, shutting down Hill’s railroad.

Under the leadership of organizer Eugene V. Debs, the Great Northern Strike remained remarkably peaceful. As the strike entered its third week, James J. Hill felt pressure from Minneapolis industrialists—whose businesses depended on Hill’s railroads—to negotiate. Hill readily accepted an offer from flour mogul Charles Pillsbury to chair an arbitration committee formed entirely of Minneapolis businessmen, assuming that his fellow industrialists would side with him.

To Hill’s surprise, the committee agreed to nearly all of the union’s demands. This was the first union victory over a national corporation. As word spread, ARU membership swelled to over 150,000, more than all other unions combined.

Full of confidence after his victory over Hill, Eugene Debs immediately threw the weight of his union in support of striking workers in the factories of the Pullman Palace Car Company, who manufactured sleeper cars used by every railroad in the country. Pullman required workers to rent housing from the company, but had slashed employee wages without lowering rents. Under Debs’ leadership, the American Railway Union announced it would boycott the Pullman company, refusing to move any train with a Pullman car attached.

In the days before freight and passenger service were separate, nearly every train had a Pullman car. The ARU boycott resulted in a two-month shutdown of nearly all rail traffic in the United States.

President Grover Cleveland deployed 12,000 Federal troops to rail yards across the country to force strikers to break up their picket lines. The arrival of troops escalated an already tense situation, and long-simmering anger boiled over into vandalism and violence. At least 30 strikers and four soldiers were killed, with many hundreds injured on both sides, and $80 million of property destroyed (approximately $2.5 billion in today’s dollars). Alarmed, the President declared all strike activity to be an insurrection and ordered a nationwide curfew, effectively putting the country under martial law. Debs and other union leaders were promptly arrested. The American Railway Union quickly fell apart.

Cleveland’s forceful actions during the Pullman boycott were deeply controversial. In an effort to assuage pro-labor voters, Cleveland sent a message to congress, urging the creation of a new Federal holiday: Labor Day, to be celebrated on the first Monday in September. Within days, Congress had passed the bill.

Labor Day has been celebrated across the US on the first Monday in September ever since.

#laborday #laborhistory

Image: An early labor day parade in Philadelphia in 1882. (Library of Congress) Before the creation of the Federal Labor Day in 1894, twenty-three states already had their own Labor Days. Most were on May 1st, a date that soon became associated with radical politics (hence Cleveland’s preference for a September date).

Clothes wringer.  #DailyDetails
09/06/2021

Clothes wringer. #DailyDetails

Clothes wringer. #DailyDetails

#OnThisDay in 1916, Mary T. Hill recorded in her diary, “We saw an airship at Fairgrounds as we were driving around the ...
09/05/2021

#OnThisDay in 1916, Mary T. Hill recorded in her diary, “We saw an airship at Fairgrounds as we were driving around the Lake last night.”

During the early years of aviation, when airplanes and airships were an exciting novelty, the Minnesota State Fair featured frequent air shows. For many Minnesotans, this was their first sight of an aircraft.

Photos: The airship “Comet” at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, ca. 1910.

#mnstatefair #MTHdiary #OTD

It's Labor History Weekend at the James J. Hill House! In honor of the Labor Day holiday, join us TODAY, September 5, fo...
09/05/2021

It's Labor History Weekend at the James J. Hill House! In honor of the Labor Day holiday, join us TODAY, September 5, for special Labor History Tours. Learn about the artisans and laborers who constructed the mansion, the lives of the home's domestic staff, the railroad workers who built and ran Hill's empire, Hill's clashes with labor organizers, and the origins of the Labor Day holiday.

Purchase your tickets online at mnhs.org/hillhouse.

It's Labor History Weekend at the James J. Hill House! In honor of the Labor Day holiday, join us TODAY, September 5, for special Labor History Tours. Learn about the artisans and laborers who constructed the mansion, the lives of the home's domestic staff, the railroad workers who built and ran Hill's empire, Hill's clashes with labor organizers, and the origins of the Labor Day holiday.

Purchase your tickets online at mnhs.org/hillhouse.

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow being wreathed in laurels. #DailyDetails
09/05/2021

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow being wreathed in laurels. #DailyDetails

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow being wreathed in laurels. #DailyDetails

#OnThisDay in 1900, Mary T. Hill wrote in her diary, "State Fair seems to be flourishing. City appears filled with stran...
09/04/2021

#OnThisDay in 1900, Mary T. Hill wrote in her diary, "State Fair seems to be flourishing. City appears filled with strangers."

#mnstatefair #MTHdiary #OTD

#OnThisDay in 1900, Mary T. Hill wrote in her diary, "State Fair seems to be flourishing. City appears filled with strangers."

#mnstatefair #MTHdiary #OTD

Address

240 Summit Ave
Saint Paul, MN
55102

Opening Hours

Monday 10am - 4pm
Tuesday 10am - 4pm
Wednesday 10am - 4pm
Thursday 10am - 4pm
Friday 10am - 3:30pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm
Sunday 1pm - 3:30pm

Telephone

(651) 297-2555

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Comments

This is the Hill mansion in Northcote, MN.
Hello Hill House! I made a video about art I've collected over the years and compared it to Hill's collection. Let me know if I got anything wrong. [And, yes, I mentioned taking a tour, but I know those won't happen this year -- just giving all of us a longer shelf life!] Thanks!
This man was a great grandson of James J. Hill. RIP
My 3rd great grandfather Oliver Daunais born 1836 in sorel quebec, died 1916 in kenora. Worked for Mr. Hill. :)
Meh. 1% parasite.
Went on the 3:30 tour last Saturday the 18th. Beverly was our guide and did a fantastic job! She obviously loves the house and being a guide. Very engaging and funny. 😆😆
Thank you Jessica, for being so accommodating for the Master Servant shoot!
Thoroughly enjoyed a tour of James J Hill House on this rainy Saturday morning, led by a passionate and knowledgable young lady, Bethany. What a St Paul gem, check out their Nooks and Crannies tours!
I'll try to get some better pictures during our next visit!
BEAUTIFUL old coal gas lamps. Definitely one of the coolest ways to light a room.
There are only TWO shows left with pre-sale seats available: Thursday March 8th and Sunday March 18th! Get them while you can The rest of the run is SOLD OUT! Thank you for this overwhelming response, we hope you enjoy the show!