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James Hill


On this date in 1916, an infection had James Hill bedridden. From his window, the man known as the Empire Builder looked onto the bustling city of St. Paul. As CEO of the Great Northern Railroad, Hill had played a large part in the growth and settlement of North Dakota. He was one of the first to acquire land in the state, and in 1893 he completed his transcontinental rail line to Seattle. His pursuits, however, were not confined to his railway. When there was not enough industry and settlement in the areas he was building through, Hill recruited the necessary people and businesses.

He passed away May 29th, and two days later, North Dakotans observed a moment of silence at the hour of his funeral.

Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job


Lounsberry, Clement Augustus. 1919 Early History of North Dakota: Essential Outlines of American History. Liberty Press: New York: p. 351.