Dakota County Historical Society
To preserve, interpret and promote the history of Dakota County.

Location: 309 W. Seventh Street

A. W. MacDonald built this white Greek revival house in the old town site of Nininger northwest of Hastings in 1857. MacDonald, a staff member of the Scientific American in New York for ten years, came to Nininger to become managing editor of Ignatius Donnelly’s paper, the Emigrant Aid Journal. It is believed that MacDonald’s house held the Journal’s office and printing press. When the Nininger town site failed, MacDonald left in 1859.

In November of 1866 Irving Todd, Sr. purchased the house for the sum of $385 from a James Brownell. That winter Todd moved the house over the ice of the Mississippi River and set it on the lot in Hastings it now occupies.

Todd, a newspaper man, published the Hastings Conserver, which he acquired in 1862 from Rev. C. N. Whitney. In 1866 Todd joined forces with C. Stebbins, owner of the Hastings Independent, renaming the new paper the Hastings Gazette. Todd bought Stebbins out in 1878.

In 1865, Todd married school teacher Helen Lucas. Their son, Irving Todd, Jr. became a partner with his father at the Gazette in 1887. A few years after his father’s death in 1921, Todd, Jr. sold his interest in the newspaper and served as president of the local phone company, which he had founded in 1898. A tremendously active, beneficent, and community-minded man, Irving Todd, Jr. died in 1964 at age 98 (the same number of years the house remained in the Todd family).

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