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January 6, 2012

The Hill House Servants: Life Downstairs

Filed under: Podcasts and Slideshows — Lori Williamson @ 5:06 pm

Not unlike the divided household of Downton Abbey, we have a dramatic example of upstairs/downstairs life right here in Minnesota. The “Empire Builder” James J. Hill and his family were the primary occupants of 240 Summit Avenue but another, less familiar group of people lived there as well: the 10 to 12 live-in domestic servants who did the cleaning, cooking, laundry, and maintenance work at the house. In piecing together the stories of these servants, information is culled from a variety of sources that can be found in the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society.

 
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