James J. Hill was one of the most prominent and wealthy businessmen in St. Paul during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Before he died in 1916, Hill dreamed of building a public library. He purchased land in the core of St. Paul and hired New York architect Electus D. Litchfield. Litchfield created an Italian Renaissance design faced with pink marble and sandstone columns. Hill’s wife and children spearheaded the project’s completion. In 1921, James J. Hill Reference Library opened its doors facing Rice Park. The collection now includes 200,000 business resources plus regional historical records from the 19th through early 21st centuries. In 2013, the business reference library was renamed James J. Hill Center.