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James J. Hill House
Ranked #7 of 128 things to do in Saint Paul
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: 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, the setting of the public and private lives of the Hill family. The James J. Hill House is a National Historic Landmark. The home also includes an art gallery, which features work from the Minnesota Historical Society's collections.
Reviewed January 20, 2012

This is really a fantastic tour in a absolutely wonderful restored mansion of one of the great rail tycoons. This home gives you a glimpse into how the super rich lived in the late 1800's. The home is up in the Summitt Ave. area of St. Paul and make sure to take a drive around to check out all of the fabulous historic homes as well as making a stop at the cathedral.

Thank TomK84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"hill family"
in 40 reviews
"historical society"
in 36 reviews
"nooks and crannies"
in 19 reviews
"downton abbey"
in 10 reviews
"laundry room"
in 8 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 26 reviews
"gilded age"
in 16 reviews
"amazing home"
in 8 reviews
"grand home"
in 6 reviews
"beautiful mansion"
in 6 reviews
"old mansion"
in 6 reviews
"interesting house"
in 6 reviews
"music room"
in 6 reviews
"square feet"
in 8 reviews
"art gallery"
in 13 reviews
"original furnishings"
in 5 reviews
"hour and minutes"
in 5 reviews

410 - 414 of 423 reviews

Reviewed January 2, 2012

my family took a tour of the James J Hill Mansion in 2010. The house is impressive, well kept and very memorable. The guide was friendly and very helpful with questions. My son is a rail road nut and being inside the Hill home was exciting for him. The house was empty as much of the furniture was missing. There seemed to lack a "home" feeling which made it a little depressing. Note: the dining room walls and the private his/hers bedrooms and bathrooms.

Thank Janell V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2011

The house is huge, somewhere around 36,000 feet, if you can imagine. It was one of the first to get electricity and there is an actual pipe organ in the house. I found it fascinating that the Hill family lived on the second floor, not the first. The neighborhood is fascinating too with several other historic mansions on the same street. We also signed up for a tour of the neighborhood, which was about one and a half miles long. A nice walk with wide sidewalks. A Hill son lived in the mansion next door. Garrison Keilor also owns a home in the neighborhood.

Thank MsSand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2011

The Hill house and Summit Ave area of St Paul it's located in is elegant. Our guide new all the facts (and rumors) about the James Hill, his family, servants, friends, etc which really helps make a tour interesting. The house is not air conditioned so dress accordingly if summertime. Allow for about 1 1/2 hours. Also, you can see two St Paul attractions and keep the same free parking spot. The Cathedral of St Paul is practically next door just across the street from the mansion and is a very impressive structure worth touring as well.

Unfortunately after James Hill died, his children sold off all the furnishings so except for the formal dining room, there are only a few re-donated tables and wall decorations. The Historical Society has been striving to get the original possessions back together. Luckily they have the original photos Hill had taken of every room so you can see how magnificent it used to look. The mansion still has some of the most impressive carved woodwork I've seen. The late-1800s state-of-the-arts central heating, indoor plumbing and electrical systems are also impressive. The walk-in safes were interesting as was learning how the marble showers in the men's bathrooms worked. Photo taking was allowed but no flash.

While not on a par with the likes of the Newport, San Simeon or Biltmore mansions, its still one of the better private mansions I've toured despite the lack of most of it's original furnishings.

2  Thank OTR_Again_IM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 28, 2011

Have lived in MN most of my life...the twin cities 25 years. We decided this year we would take in some sights in the local area. The house was beautiful. The tour guide really new her facts and she enjoyed sharing. I loved it that there was an organist there the day we went & was playing. I did not care for the movie...the setting was in a room with a bunch of folding chairs (school days field trip reminders) Allow for 1 1/2 hours. Parking is free on the street. The cathedral is just a block away....it is so beautiful inside it is worth the time to walk over.

3  Thank Love2travelMpls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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