Created the Hill Bonanza ranch in Kittson County, with his mansion still standing today in Northcote, MN. Responsible for construction of the railroad connecting Winnipeg to the Twin Cities.
~Dan Money, Hallock, MN
Please! Great Northern Railway is listed on the web form but Hill should be included as well for all his other accomplishments: banking, milling, mining, river/Great Lakes/Pacific shipping, philanthropy, etc.
~Craig Johnson, St. Paul, MN
Hill held a pivitol role in America's growth to the west. His role in building the railroad allowed the commerce of America to travel between the east and west coast thus allowing the country to grow dramatically.
~David Lombardo, Eau Claire, WI
Founder and first president of the Great Northern Railway. A true rara avis, a tycoon with a heart and a conscience, he really believed that, in the long run, what was good for his workers and customers was good for him. He is the Empire Builder honored in the name of the famous train.
~Thomas Lee Boles, Maplewood, MN
I nominate James J. Hill. A person who came from basically nothing to create a massive wealth that made his family one of the wealthiest in the world at that time. What makes JJ Hill worthy of this award is the legacy he put in place that remains today. From the James J. Hill library to the historic home on Summit Avenue, and the infamous bridge spanning the Minneapolis river banks. When James's son took over the Great Northern Railroad, which helped industrialize Minneapolis and St. Paul, he built all of those beautiful chalets that are scattered around through the National Park system. If it wasn't for the vision and determination of Mr. Hill, Minneapolis and St. Paul would not be the cities they are today. It's a shame that most people in Minnesota don't know the significance of James J. Hill and what he created for Minnesota and our Country.
~Dale J. Hlavka, Minneapolis, MN
James J. Hill was a driving force behind the creation of most of the railroad infastructure in Minnesota and the United States. Therefore, the 'Empire Builder' should live on as one of the most important figures in Minnesota History.
~Nathan Ashley, Burnsville, MN
J. J. Hill's decision not to return to Toronto, but to come to St. Paul. As a 17-year-old young man, James J. Hill left his home in Rockwood, Ontario and travelled to the east coast via Toronto. After his trip he returned to Toronto, only 50 miles from his home. He was homesick and tempted to return home. Instead he took a notion to go to St. Paul, which he did in July, 1856. It changed everything from here to Seattle.
~Kenneth j. Pierre, St. Paul, MN
His railroad still survives today as the BNSF and is the 2nd largest rail transportation in the country. If I said Empire Builder you would think of trains and James J. Hill.
~Philip Pornvazik, New Prague, MN
He helped shape St. Paul.
~Sami Anderson, Minneapolis, MN
James J. Hill not only acquired the land to build the Great Northern Railroad without federal funding, the only magnate to do so but was the most instrumental figure to acquire statehood for North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Wahington states. He left truly giant footprints.
~John Quernemoen, Minneapolis, MN
He made our state famous in some sort. He really helped us out.
~Allison Steen, Eden Prairie, MN
JJ Hill's line to Manitoba was the impetus for settling the NW corner of the state.
~Betty Swan, Elk River, MN