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Hill, Louis W.

American, 1872 - 1948


Louis W. Hill (Sr.) was the son of St. Paul railroad magnate James J. Hill, and the father of painter/filmmaker [James] Jerome Hill. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, he graduated from Phillips-Exeter Academy in 1890, and three years later received a degree from Yale University. He then started up the ladder of railroad jobs, working in the accounting department, as a billing clerk, in the car accountants office, in the traffic and mechanical departments, and as traveling freight agent. From 1899 to 1903 he also served as vice president of various subsidiaries of the Great Northern Railway, and became assistant to his father, who was the president of the Great Northern. At his father's retirement in 1907, he took over the post, serving as president until 1912 when he became Chairman of the Board. He retired in 1929, when the Great Northern had grown to nearly 10,000 miles of track, and with the Northern Pacific Railway held a half interest in the Burlington Railway. Mr. Hill also served as director of the First National Bank of New York, and was known in his hometown as a patron of art and music. He married Maude Van Cortlandt in 1901, and they had four children, Louis Jr., Jerome, Cortlandt, and a daughter who became Mrs. Hannes Schroll. He died on 27 April 1948 in St. Paul. [Compiled from sources and references recorded on CMS]


"Louis W. Hill Sr., Rail Official, 75." The New York Times (28 April 1948): 27:3.

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