James J. Hill House

Large dining room with a long dining table

The Gilded Age mansion of "The Empire Builder"

Large dining room with a long dining table

The Gilded Age mansion of
"The Empire Builder"

Explore upstairs and downstairs life in Minnesota's Downton Abbey — a 36,000-square-foot mansion built for railroad titan James J. Hill.

Tour group standing outside front of James J. Hill House

Guided house tours

Wednesday through Sunday (no tours on Monday or Tuesday)

Learn about James J. Hill’s influence on the region and about his network of family members, servants, workers, and guests.

Marvel at the impressive house details such as chandeliers, stained glass, and hand-carved woodwork sprawled throughout the home. Discover original mechanical systems that provided heat, light, water, ventilation, and security.

  • Designed for people of all ages.
  • Tours are 75 minutes, starting every half-hour based on availability
  • $6‑10; MNHS members and children ages 4 & under free


The largest house in St. Paul

The rugged stone, massive scale, fine detail, and ingenious mechanical systems of this magnificent Gilded Age mansion recall the powerful presence of James J. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway.

With 13 bathrooms, 22 fireplaces, 16 chandeliers, a reception hall nearly 100 feet long, sophisticated technical systems, and a two-story, skylit art gallery, it was once the largest private residence in the state.

The home served as the center for the public and private lives of the Hill family for 30 years. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

Exterior photo of the front house, from the northwest corner


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