TCL Time Travels: James J. Hill House & Mill City Museum

Saint Paul’s Summit Avenue is full of history and that includes a massive mansion that sits atop a hill overlooking downtown. The James J. Hill House was finished in 1891. The house is thirty six thousand square feet. The house was built by powerful businessman James J. Hill. He was the man behind the Great Northern Railway.

The home is full of detail. Everything from the carved detail in the wood, the gold ceiling in the dining room to the stained glass windows. No expense was spared. The Hill family not only lived in this house, but they were also known to entertain. The home is open for public tours and events. Click here to learn more about seeing the home for yourself. Because the amount of history with the Hill family, the neighborhood, and the house, becoming a tour guide takes about thirty hours of training. The guides have great insight on all of the interesting fun facts.

While you’re in Saint Paul, make time to walk up and down Summit Avenue to see the other gorgeous historic homes. There are plenty. Just a few blocks away on Selby there are great restaurants. Twin Cities Live Reporter Emily Engberg suggests three of her favorite.

  1. WA Frost –It’s a great spot in the summer because of its unbelievable patio, but it’s just as cozy indoors by the fire downstairs during the winter. The upstairs has a gorgeous masculine bar with style. Great spot to stop and have a nice date night or day.
  1. Red Cow -The Red Cow is the perfect spot for a low key setting to either grab a meal or a quick bite to eat. The atmosphere is casual and the restaurant has TVs if you want to catch your favorite game.
  1. La Grolla has a great menu. It specializes in Italian cuisine The atmosphere is cozy and the patio feels nice and tucked away on those nice warm days. The food and service is worth the trip.

Across the river in Minneapolis there’s another must see spot that is perfect for a day get away. Mill City Museum is built into the ruins of what was once the largest flour mill. It sits right on the Mississippi Riverfront and has gorgeous views of the Stone Arch bridge. The museum is a great spot for the entire family because of its interactive displays that are fun to learn about and to even get involved in. The museum interpreters do a fantastic job of making it engaging. There is also a section that takes you through the history with pictures. They are powerful and they really bring home how the industry has shaped how we live today.

The museum is just steps away from the Guthrie Theater and Sea Change.

There are tons of other spots to eat and walk to as well. The St. Anthony Main neighborhood isn’t far and it’s quaint and full of restaurants, a theater and incredible views. You can even rent a Segway to tour the area.

To learn more about Minnesota’s Historic sites and to plan your visit go to

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