James J Hill Days

402 East Lake Street
Wayzata, MN 55391


Since 1975 the weekend following Labor Day in Wayzata has been dedicated to honoring James J. Hill, Minnesota historic figure and once owner of the Great Northern Railroad Company.  Hill, builder of the present train depot in 1906, contributed significantly to transform Wayzata into the beautiful tourist location and fashionable community we know today.
The tracks of James J. Hill's St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba railroad cut the small village of Wayzata off from the Lake.  Local residents and guests complained of the smoke and cinders that belched from the engines.  Hill and his company ignored them, so in 1883 the town sued the railroad.  Hill was enraged and ordered the station torn down, and moved a mile east, declaring that Wayzatans could "walk a mile for the next 20 years." For over 15 years, the residents of Wayzata walked or hired carriages to the Holdridge neighborhood.  The feud ended when Hill build the new depot in 1906.   As a goodwill gesture, Hill attended the dedication, declaring it the "most attractive building on the Burlington Northern Route."  Service continued out of the Depot until 1971.  In 1972 Burlington Northern deeded the building to the City of Wayzata.  It is currently listed on the National Register of Historic places.
Wayzata's James J. Hill Days celebration is an annual celebration of this town's history, which thanks to Mr. James J. Hill himself, is still a thriving Lake Minnetonka community.

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