Six months ago, the General Assembly confirmed the votes of thousands of state residents that Thomas Alva Edison best represents the history and future of Ohio. Now it’s time to preserve that vote in stone by raising the $1 million necessary to sculpt a statue of the Milan native and send it to the nation’s capital.
Mr. Edison’s statue will replace one of 19th-century politician William Allen. The former governor, congressman, and U.S. senator was a worthy candidate when a likeness of him was placed in Statuary Hall some 125 years ago. His tolerance of slavery and opposition to President Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War make him less worthy in the 21st century.
Mr. Edison’s hard work, inventiveness, and numerous contributions to modern society helped shape America — and the world — in the 20th century. He is the perfect candidate to represent a state that is in the process of reinventing itself and hopes to shape the 21st century as a leader in fields such as aviation, alternative energy, and medical technology.
Putting Mr. Edison in the Capitol Rotunda will take money — about $1 million — all of it from private donors. Still to be decided are whether the statue will be bronze or marble, what artist will do the sculpting, and what image of Mr. Edison will be used.
Mr. Edison represents the accomplishments and dreams of all Ohioans. Everyone will be able to contribute to the effort to create his statue and send it to Washington. The drive to raise the necessary funds will kick off next month, two days before the 166th anniversary of Mr. Edison’s birth.
It took nearly two years for lawmakers to decide to endorse the Edison statue. Fund-raisers say it could be another two years before he takes his place in Statuary Hall. Ohio residents can help to shorten the wait with donations of as little as a dollar or two. That’s a small price to own a piece of Ohio’s vision of its future.