Female narrator: If you could build [ saw ] [ hammer ] any kind of house, would your house be big or small? Simple, [ ding ] or fancy? [ trumpet ] In the city [ car horn ] or the country? [ crickets ] Would it be red, green, white, brown, blue, yellow, grey?
Whoa! Too many decisions. Ahem, well, behind these trees stands a house built more than 120 years ago by a St. Paul businessman named James J. Hill.
Child voice: I think I would turn kind of into, like, a diva kind of person if I Iived like this.
Female narrator: As you can see, Hill built an enormous house.
Child voice: You wouldn't run out of room to play. [ hammer ]
Female narrator: and he could afford it because he made lots of money building railroads in the Northwestern United States. [ train whistle ] Hill lived here with his family.
Female voice: Here's Walter riding his velocipede. Check it out, that guy's not wearing a helmet and he's like six feet off the ground.
Female narrator: Hill filled the home with all sorts of fancy things: chandeliers, a grand staircase
Female voice: Make your grand entrance.
Female narrator: and this.
Female voice: What does it look like the ceiling's made out of?
Female voice: Do you think that's real gold?
Students: No. It's just coating.
Female voice: You're at the Hill's. It's real gold.
Female narrator: Hill wasn't always rich and powerful. He grew up poor and emigrated from Canada as a young man. He made his fortune during the Gilded Age, a time when America and its economy were growing really fast. Hill's home had the very latest in technology,
Female voice: You guys are going to see a 120-year-old shower in there.
Female narrator: meaning indoor plumbing, a burglar alarm and electricity.
Female voice: Who can guess, with a raised hand, what are these things?
Student: Turn on the lights.
Female voice: Turn on the lights. Exactly right.
Female narrator: When you visit, you'll discover Hill's home is also full of secrets
Female voice: Now there's something hidden in the fireplace that I want to show you. Take a look, right there.
Student: Wow. That's awesome. [ laughter ]
Female narrator: and hidden spaces.
Female voice: So this thing is Students: Whoa. What the? Whoa. [ laughter ] Female voice: It's a safe.
Female narrator: It took lots of help to run a house this big.
Female voice: These are the two ladies who would be doing all the cooking in here: Lena Peterson, the head cook, and Celia Tower, the second cook.
Female narrator: You'll explore the basement, where some of Hill's servants worked. You'll also see beautiful woodwork and this carving of a face.
Female voice: This was done not with machines, but with hand tools.
Female narrator: Any idea who this man might be? Think about it,
Student: This is beautiful.
Female narrator: talk about it [ doorbell ]
Student: Whoa. [ laughter ]
Female narrator: and find out the answer [ camera click ] when you visit the James J. Hill House.
Student: Whoa. This is awesome. [ music ]