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Published: Thursday, 5/24/2012

Legislature OKs Edison statue

Sculpture to represent Ohio


COLUMBUS -- Mr. Edison goes to Washington.

A budget-related bill that cleared both the House and Senate Wednesday on its way to Gov. John Kasich's desk gives a statue of prolific inventor and Milan native Thomas Alva Edison a one-way ticket to the U.S. Capitol to represent Ohio in the National Statuary Hall.

It's been nearly two years since an unscientific, non-binding vote of visitors to historic sites across the nation selected Mr. Edison from among 10 finalists to stand as one of two statues representing Ohio in the hall.

The statue, to be financed through privately raised funds, would replace one of the state's 31st governor, William Allen, a Democrat who in the mid-19th century also was a congressman and U.S. senator. His views tolerating slavery and opposing Republican President Abraham Lincoln have not worn well over time.

Robert Wheeler, Mr. Edison's great-great-grandnephew and president of the board of his Milan birthplace museum, was surprised it's taken this long. The bill was held up while supporters of the flight-pioneering Wright Brothers of Dayton made their pitches.

Orville and Wilbur Wright placed a close second to Mr. Edison in the informal polling.

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