The Maud Hill House

475 Portland Avenue, Saint Paul

This beautiful home was built in 1888, and while homes are usually recognized for the person who built them, 475 Portland is more famous for one of its residents. From the years 1933-1963, Mrs. Louis Hill, Sr., known to many simply as Maud, lived in the home and helped shape it into the masterpiece seen today.

Maud Van Cordlandt Taylor was born in Staten Island, NY in 1870 to a very wealthy family descended from early colonists. While living in Saint Paul with her family, she met Louis Hill, son of railroad tycoon James J. Hill, and married him in 1901. Over the next four years, she gave birth to four children, and spent time in their grand mansion on Summit Avenue and their farm in North Oaks. When she separated from her husband in 1934, she took up permanent residence at her “updated” Portland Avenue home.

Originally the front parlor

In her early tenure, Maud expanded her garden space by having the home next door torn down. The delicate wrought iron fencing that surrounds the property was purchased in New Orleans, with local craftsman replicating additional pieces to completely enclose the gardens. She also altered the home significantly by having the front entrance relocated to the side, and the western walls expanded by four-and-a half feet to make the living room acoustically perfect for the many concerts held there (in the attic, you can still see the original roofline and window frames). The tradition of holding concerts in the home continued when another owner hosted singers from the Minnesota Opera and other groups during the 1970s, including Carol Channing .

The home is reportedly haunted, so if you happen to visit this home and see a lovely lady sitting at the piano or standing at the back of the living room, you could be seeing Maud Hill. She has been witnessed by guests at several events over the years but is quick to leave once noticed.

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