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“Great historic mansion - definitely great for tour or school field trip”
Review of James J Hill House

James J Hill House
Ranked #4 of 119 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.
Wayzata, Minnesota, United States
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great historic mansion - definitely great for tour or school field trip”
Reviewed April 11, 2013

We had the opportunity to visit the James J Hill Mansion with an elementary school class. We roamed through the halls and totally appreciated the rich architecture, heritage and grounds. If you love beautiful old homes, you will love this place!

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
Thank Lisa G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Stillwater, Minnesota
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“First rate tour”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

The tour is worth the time and cost - it's marvelous. The incredible art room and amazingly large pipe organ are astonishing, as is the sheer size of the kitchen and workers areas. You could visualize how the house was run as the tour progresses. The tour guides are knowledgeable and give you an authentic view of history and how the house functioned for the famous railroad entrepreneur. This couples nicely with some time spent at the bascilica just down the street, with a summer cocktail on the patio at WA Frost. That is an afternoon well spent!

Visited August 2012
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Thank FroderickF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A pleasant surprise”
Reviewed March 17, 2013

Unlike many of my friends, I am typically not a fan of historically home tours etc. The James J Hill house may have changed that.
Great job by the various historians...they offer a variety of different tours - some longer, shorter or by candlelight....all worth while. There are some great stories, nooks and cranies in the home and they are sure to show you all. In addition, you not only see the living quarters, but the true operations of the home. They have a way of telling the story so you can almost picture it happening around you. Highly recommend.

Visited October 2012
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1 Thank somedayanexpat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
177 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
“An impressive but empty house”
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
Helpful?
Thank Paul U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zimmerman, Minnesota
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Fun and detailed piece of Minnesota history...”
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
Helpful?
1 Thank jalberti84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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