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Canton Will Get Another Piece of McKinley History

photo of McKinley statue
This statue of William McKinley will be relocated from Arcata, Calif. to Canton after Arcata residents voted to remove the controversial statue.

Citizens of Arcata, California voted last year to remove a statue of former President William McKinley from the city’s town square. When Canton’s mayor learned about this, he offered to take the statue. 

The statue had been in Arcata since 1906 but had been the subject of controversy. Some voters saw it as a symbol of imperialism; others said the former president had no connection to their city.

Canton Mayor Tom Bernabei said the Canton community has a different perspective.

“I also understand the feelings of the people of Arcata and of California, and obviously that is an important issue to them, but we have different feelings here in Canton, Ohio towards William McKinley than they have in Northern California," he said.

The city secured $15,000 from private donors, such as the Timken Foundation, to bring the statue to Canton. Arcata received several offers for the statue, but Canton ultimately made the winning bid.

Bernabei on what made Canton's offer for the statue stand out.

“Canton’s offer was the best because of our very close ties with William McKinley, the many statues and connections of the McKinley family that already exist in Canton, the fact that we would publicly display the statue in a prominent position or place in Canton and just our interest and care and respect for William McKinley," Bernabei said.

Bernabei also said the moving process will start once the statue is evaluated for restoration.