James J. Hill Center Statement Regarding Current Closure

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About Us


The James J. Hill Center is currently evaluating all options related to the future of the institution and its historic building in downtown St. Paul. The organization has served the community since opening in 1921 with a gift from the estate of James J. Hill, an early industrialist and community leader in Minnesota.

The James J. Hill Reference Library (DBA The James J. Hill Center) was established as a free general-purpose reference library to serve the residents of Saint Paul. As daily usage and research needs have changed over the decades, the organization has evolved and re-positioned its services in a manner that honors the original intent while remaining relevant to the community. During the 1970’s it became apparent to the Board the cost and space needed to house a general reference library was unrealistic, and such, it refined the focus to business reference services.

Over the past three years the James J. Hill Center has significantly increased its programming and community impact while actively supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Minnesota. As a privately funded nonprofit, our ability to provide these services to the public for free is not sustainable. We continue to be challenged to develop a financial model that can deliver the original intent while being fiscally responsible for the ongoing operating costs of the organization and necessary capital investments in the historic structure.

Considering these challenges, there is a need to evaluate the sustainability of our mission in concert with our building. As such, the Hill’s Board and Executive Director are carefully examining options and having conversations with key leaders who might offer insight and counsel as to the future of the organization.  During this time, the Hill will be closed to the public starting July 3rd. All contracted rental events will be honored through 2019. Please visit jjhill.org for information on remaining programs and services .

The James J. Hill Center is committed to respecting the intent of the original gift and ensuring the Hill legacy continues to meaningfully serve the community and residents of Saint Paul.


Patrons with accessibility needs please access our ground floor elevator entrance via Kellogg Ave at the back of the building. Please ring the doorbell on the right hand side of door and a Hill staff member will assist you. If you have questions or concerns please call 651.265.5500. We look forward to having you visit.