With a tug of the black drape covering it, a large, dramatic sign honoring Thomas B. Hagen, Chairman of the Board of Erie Insurance, was unveiled Monday afternoon September 19.

It's a lasting tribute, as the sign reads, to a lifetime of commitment to building the Erie community and preserving its history.

The dedication of the sign at the southeast corner of West 6th and Myrtle Streets was scheduled on Hagen's 87th birthday.  He was moved by the honor.  "It's a great honor and to think back when I was a 7-year-old kid down the street when I moved in here -- never in my wildest imagination did I expect something like this in later years," Hagen said.  "I really, I can't express how grateful I am for it."

Over the past 5 years, Tom Hagen has purchased and restored more than 20 properties in Erie, many right on West 6th Street's Millionaire's Row.

Former Erie City Council member Dave Brennan sponsored the resolution to see Hagen honored for the inspirational transformation that's taking place in the city. "Looking at West 6th Street, looking at all of Erie, is really setting a pace for Erie's future," Brennan said.  "To me it's just exciting and it really tells you more about what to expect in the future 'cause the work is not done, we're just starting," he added.

The steel sign was manufactured by local steel company Gene Davis Sales & Services, and the bronze plaque on it produced by Lake Shore Industries, in colors and designs to match the aesthetic of the street and the style of the majestic brick homes that have been renovated.  Ben Davis of Gene Davis Sales & Services said being part of creating the sign is a way to say thank you to Hagen for the work and business that the preservation and restoration projects are creating for his and other locally owned companies.

Last November Erie City Council voted unanimously to designate West 6th Street from Myrtle to Chestnut as Thomas Hagen Way.  It's a sign post of the appreciation that Tom Hagen has been hearing about a lot these days.  "I have a feeling for it because so many people tell me that they go out of their way to drive down 6th Street to see what's going on and to me that's a good omen," Hagen said.