Dustin and I have taken a few weekends this summer and played "local tourist." We both had several days off over the 4th of July and hit up my love, St. Paul, for a day of exploring.
It has been a forever wish of mine to tour the James J. Hill house on Summit Ave in St. Paul. I can't even pretend to count how many times I have driven or walked by the mansion. It is massive, beautiful, and on a scale of everything else that can't be compared to anything else. The house was built in 1891for $931, 275.01. That's A LOT of money for the late 1800s!! Apparently, Mr. Hill paid meticulous attention to detail, hence the exact price of the house all of the way down the penny.
The house is 36,000 feet with five floors. My house's square footage could almost fill the first floor hallway of this place! Surprisingly, there were no additions built onto the house after it was finished. The house that stands there today is exactly the same as it was in 1891 (other than a few modern updates to the electrical wiring, heating, cooling, etc.). The house boasts its own art gallery and five floor organ - which is played once a month to keep it in tune and working. Can you imagine? An organ of that size that plays music throughout a house that big? You can definitely say surround sound!
I enjoyed the tour so much, I plan to go back someday. However, for the sake of full disclosure, I admit that I am a bit of an old-mansion-tour-junkie. The James J. Hill House almost rivals the Glensheen Mansion, in my books of Minnesota great old mansions. Heck, people died in both houses. Of course, there was a murder at Glensheen and on the other end of the spectrum - good 'ol Jim died naturally in his home (no ghosts from the sounds of it there). I learned so much about the history of St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the railroad lines - all thanks to James J. Hill. It is a great historical learning experience - stuff you probably didn't learn in school. I know I didn't, this was all new to me! If you have a chance, I HIGHLY recommend touring the James J. Hill house. Completely worth the $9 for the tour!