PIQUA — A statue of former Ohio Congressman William M. McCulloch, gifted to the city by Crown Equipment CEO James F. Dicke II, was placed on McCulloch Square on Thursday morning.
A crane from Piqua Steel hoisted the statue onto its pedestal on cold and windy morning, fulfilling the promise of Dicke, a long-time admirer of McCulloch.
Dicke spent two summers working for Congressman McCulloch in his Washington, D.C. office in the 1960s. The New Bremen resident spearheaded a campaign several years ago to replace a statue at the National Statutory Hall at the United States Capitol Building with one of McCulloch.
McCulloch, widely recognized as a key figure in the passage of the Civil Rights Act, came in third in the voting for the new statue.
“We are very excited about having the statue of William McCulloch in McCulloch Plaza,” Piqua City Manager Gary Huff said. “As everyone knows here in Piqua, he is the father of the Civil Rights Act and considered to be a hero from that fashion. We are happy to honor him and we are very privileged that he was from our community and that we can recognize him and his tremendous efforts.”
Wes Edwards, an attorney at Crown Equipment Company, said that Dicke approached him with the idea of donating a statue to the City of Piqua because they already had a bronze casting of McCulloch ready. Edwards contacted Piqua attorney Mike Gutmann and Piqua City Planner Chris Schmiesing to start the process.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm and we were really grateful for that,” said Edwards.
Dan Freytag, an architect with Freytag and Associates, Inc., along with Piqua city officials, decided to place the statue on McCulloch Square, across from the Piqua Public Library. It was decided that McCulloch should face east, looking toward Washington, D.C.
The statue of the statesman is fitting, said City Commissioner Bill Vogt at an earlier commission meeting, “Bill McCulloch was a hero to everybody. What a tribute to the man!”
William M. McCulloch a Republican, was elected to Congress in November of 1947. He was re-elected to 12 consecutive terms.
Huff said that a date for the formal dedication of the statue has not yet been set.