Ramsey County History – Spring 2006: “Mary Hill’s Lowertown, 1867–1891”

Eileen R. McCormack

Mary Hill’s Lowertown, 1867–1891
Author: Eileen R. McCormack

Mary Mehegan Hill lived most of her early life in St. Paul’s Lowertown and was there with her husband, James J. Hill, from the time of their marriage until the Hills moved to Summit Avenue in 1891. Surrounded by prosperous families in the block located between Ninth, Tenth, Wacouta, and Canada streets, the Hills were very close, both geographically and socially, to three other families: the Gotzians, the Uphams, and the Schurmeiers. The men in these families and James J. Hill had many common economic and social shared activities. The core of this article is based on diaries kept by Mary Hill, starting in 1883 and continuing, with a few gaps, until 1921. They are a record of her daily activities and information about her family; however, they contain few introspective thoughts. The article looks at the institutions of the neighborhood—groceries, churches, and specialty retail. The children were taught at home in the early years and often played in nearby Lafayette Park. Shopping, cultural activities, work, and worship were most often undertaken within walking distance. Mary’s household chores and dinners and other activities are detailed. She was active in the church, especially with charitable activities, and supported St. Mary’s Home for Girls and the Catholic Orphan Asylum. The article covers the changes to the community that were brought by railroad construction that led to the Hills relocating to Summit Avenue in 1891.
PDF of McCormack article