Tom Hedges plaza dedicated at 1914 Historic Town Hall

Tom Hedges Town Hall Plaza was officially dedicated during a ceremony last week at the 1914 Town Hall in Eagan.

Photo by Terri Greenberg
Former Eagan City Administrator Tom Hedges thanks John Nasseff and shows him the contents of the historical markers at the historic town hall in Eagan during a dedication ceremony June 28. Nasseff’s financial gift made the plaza possible.

A gift of $100,000 made in December by former West Publishing executive John Nasseff, and his wife Helene Houle, helped fund both the plaza and future displays and display cases.

Tom Hedges Town Hall Plaza includes brick pavers, two granite benches and the historical marker sign.

Hedges was Eagan’s first city administrator and guided Eagan from a rural township to the city it is today.

He moved to Eagan with his wife Debbie in 1976 when there were 16,000 residents.

During the 37 years Hedges served, the city grew to 65,000 and staff grew to more than 235 employees.

Nasseff was a senior executive when West Publishing, what is now Thomson Reuters, relocated from St. Paul to Eagan thanks in part to the help of the city administrator at the time, Hedges.

“Eagan is what it is today, in large part, because of Tom Hedges,” said Nasseff in a news release last year. “Tom’s leadership, work ethic and can-do approach is why West Publishing came here, and it’s why Helene and I wanted to honor Tom with a plaza in his name, while at the same time helping Town Hall continue to recover from the fire with new displays.”

Hedges mentored 40 people who went on to become city managers or department directors. He served 13 different city councils and eight mayors while attending 1,600 city council meetings.

Tom Hedges Day was proclaimed May 11, 2001, in honor of when he was named City Manager of the Year in Minnesota.

He retired in 2013.

The Eagan Town Hall has stood at the corner of Pilot Knob Road and Wescott Road since 1914 and it’s the oldest surviving government building within the city.

It served as the location for meetings and election until 1965.

A new city hall was built across the street in 1965.

The building was moved back 100 feet in 1988 when Pilot Knob was widened, and a grant from the state and donations from Eagan Rotary was used to help refurbish the building in 1990.

In 2013, arsonists set fire to the building. Many of the contents were saved, but the building went through an extensive rebuilding process through which the roof structures and interior surfaces were refurbished or replaced.

 

The building has since been restored to its original 1914 appearance, and serves as a museum, hosted by the Eagan Historical Society.