According to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the citizens of Minneapolis presented this elaborate tray to the railroad baron James J. Hill (1838–1916) on September 10, 1884 to honor his work, character, and career in the Northwest and commemorated the recent completion of the Stone Arch Bridge, which allowed passenger transportation across the Mississippi River into the city.
The tray is engraved with a view of Minneapolis in 1884, including the Stone Arch Bridge, the Washburn flour mill (on the left) and the Pillsbury flour mill (on the right). Upriver is the Hennepin Avenue Bridge and to its left the Minneapolis Union Depot, part of Hill’s development of rail service in the city. In the border are scenes of events from Hill’s career, culminating in a portrait medallion at the top. Separating these are six trophy heads of animals native to the Northwest Territory: elk, buffalo, Rocky Mountain sheep, deer, and wolves.
Gift of Mr.and Mrs. G. Richard Slade
Permissions were arranged with artists or organizations expressly for this collection and may not be used without their additional consent.