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“An impressive but empty house” 4 of 5 stars
Review of James J Hill House

James J Hill House
240 Summit Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102
651-297-2555
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Ranked #8 of 120 things to do in Saint Paul
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Attraction details
Owner description: This massive red sandstone mansion was the home of James J. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway, and is a fine representation of life during the Gilded Age.
Winnipeg
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
47 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“An impressive but empty house”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

This is the mansion of James J. Hill, the 19th century railroad mogul who founded the Great Northern Railroad. The house is huge, and the historical tour was well conducted. But the place was devoid of almost any furniture, which gave the house a very empty feel to it.

Visited September 2012
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167 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Zimmerman, Minnesota
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Fun and detailed piece of Minnesota history...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

We visited the attraction on 3/2/13 during an early afternoon tour.

The Good: Tour was great- learned lots of local information, very detailed, fun tour guide- 24 years of experience there and was funny (not too serious like some tour guides can be). House was beautiful- the woodwork was amazing. Tour lasts about 75 minutes. All furnishings are original.

The Bad: Not something for children- there is no touching of anything as they are trying to preserve the original house. Parking is on the street only and there is no handicap. For the handicap entrance, you must push the button and wait for someone to let you in. We did not know this, so walked up to the doors (we do not push the button unless we have to in order to save electricity) and could not get the doors open. We walked back down the ramp, which is rather long, and pushed the button hoping that would open the door. Nothing happened so we walked towards the main entrance. Then someone came to the door to let us in. What would be really nice, especially for people like me who cannot walk far, would be if they put a sign next to the handicap button stating someone will open the door for you once you push the button. This would not damage the original building yet let those of us know what to expect who need this entrance. The only other thing we didn't care for was at the end of the tour they let you out through the back door, it would be nice if they would at least welcome you to come back in to look at the mansion for yourself. You are basically pushed out the door after the tour- keep in mind you can do a self-guided tour but you would miss a lot of information as there are no signs telling you about the rooms/people/history/etc.


Would we go back? Yes, but on our own self-guided tour so we may take our time to see the rooms/details. (during the tours, you have to stay with your group and do not always have time to look at stuff in detail). Would recommend everyone try this tour at least once when visiting St. Paul. We also plan on going on the behind the scenes tour at some point, which sounds like it's more fun than the basic tour.

Visited March 2013
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Gayville, South Dakota, United States
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4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
“Interesting”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

Very interesting. Full of history and beautiful craftsmanship. Learned about a dedicated American entrepreneur. Not a boring stuffy museum tour.

Visited November 2012
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Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Fun and Cool Check it out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2013

Went during the holdiays and it was cool. Totally worth the trip! Beautiful, grand home! The woodwork and construction are wonderful!

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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
141 helpful votes 141 helpful votes
“Great piece of history”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

The James J HIll house is a nice place to take a tour. The tour guides are well informed and keep you entertained. I have been there many times and each time I hear/see something that I didn't see before. At Christmas they do a program with actors - it is fabulous but make reservations for it.

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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