A fundraising campaign is about to kick-off to raise money for Ohio's new statue in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall.
A nonprofit commission says it needs about $1 million to pay for the statue of inventor Thomas Edison. He spent his early years in the northern Ohio town of Milan.
Known worldwide for his inventions, Edison will replace Chillicothe native William Allen, Ohio’s 31st governor, whose statue was installed in 1887. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Allen’s Civil War-era, pro-slavery views were deemed inappropriate to represent modern-day Ohio.
Ohio’s other statue, of slain President James A. Garfield, will remain.
The public voted in favor of Edison in statewide balloting in 2010, edging out the Wright Brothers. The General Assembly finalized Edison’s selection in June, but little has happened since.
The commission says it will begin raising private donations in February. The Toledo Blade newspaper reports that it will be 18 months to two years before the new Edison statue takes its place in the Capitol.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that 70-year-old Don Gfell, owner of the "Sights and Sounds of Edison" antique store in Edison's childhood home of Milan, was a leader of a successful campaign to select the great inventor and entrepreneur for inclusion in Statuary Hall, home to two statues apiece from 50 states.
Frustrated by the lack of money raised so far - only $1,500 - Gfell is working on a fundraiser in Edison’s hometown of Milan to help cover part of the estimated $1.5 to $2 million needed to get Edison’s statue to Washington.