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Edison to be enshrined in Capitol

Jan. 2, 2013 at 2:51 PM

MILAN, Ohio, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Mid-1800s Ohio Gov. William Allen's bust will be replaced in the Capitol Building's Statuary Hall by one depicting inventor Thomas Edison, state leaders said.

An informal poll of visitors to various historic places across the Buckeye State asked whose image should represent the state in Washington. Edison, born in Milan, Ohio, came out the victor over Ohio native sons the Wright Brothers, the Toledo Blade said Wednesday.

Legislation pushed by state Sen. Mark Wagoner of Ottawa Hills cemented Edison's place among some of the nation's greatest leaders and citizens. A $1 million fundraising initiative is being undertaken to facilitate the creation of Edison's bust, in marble or bronze, its transport to the capital and returning Allen's statue. No tax dollars will be used.

How Allen, a Democrat who opposed the Civil War and tolerated slavery, came to represent Ohio is something of an anomaly. Shortly after his death, Democratic leaders commissioned his bust and sent it to Washington, perhaps as a counterweight to Ohio's other statue in the hall: Republican James Garfield, the nation's 20th president, who was assassinated in 1881.

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