James J. Hill was the builder and manager of the railway that, in 1890, was renamed the Great Northern. In 1893 the railroad’s main line was competed to Seattle. By 1900 Hill and J. P. Morgan had gained control of the Northern Pacific and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railways. St. Paul became the headquarters for a rail empire that dominated transportation in the northwestern quarter of the entire nation. These lines, along with the Great Northern, were the components of the 1970s merger that formed the Burlington Northern Railway.
Hill’s railroads made settlement and economic viability a reality in our region in a relatively short span of time. The Great Northern used not only rail lines but water transportation on the Great Lakes to connect Minnesota with the east for delivery of resources from the northwest and the return of products to the northwest.
~Eileen McCormack, St. Paul, MN