The Downtown worker taking a break on the Milo’s Capitol Café patio watched me scour the northeast corner of the Ohio Statehouse grounds for Adelaide’s house.
I looked everywhere — by the patio, toward the Ohio Senate’s home in the former Judiciary Annex, and by the benches lining the sidewalk where another worker sat watching me. And then I found it.
Behind the hostas, hydrangeas, trees and ground cover that populate this shady corner, I spotted a tall wrought iron fence.
The fence surrounded a faux marble high-rise, topped with a copper roof and embellished with the Great Seal of the State of Ohio. An overturned planter, topped with its companion saucer filled with rocks and water, sat beside it.
Adelaide’s house might look like a Classical temple, but this curious new addition to the Statehouse grounds is really a home for 25,000 honey bees. Adelaide is their queen bee, named in honor of Adelaide Sterling Ott, the first woman to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Tamra Ansel, grounds manager at the Statehouse, was inspired to create the Statehouse beehive as a way to teach schoolchildren and other Statehouse visitors about not only how friendly bees can be, but also how important bees are as pollinators in nature. This is especially important now, when something known as “colony collapse” is threatening bees.
In honor of Earth Day this year, the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board dedicated the working beehive, planting a blooming sourwood tree to shelter it. With help from the Ohio State Beekeepers Association, Central Ohio Beekeepers Association, and Davey Tree Expert Co., Nina Bagley, owner of Nina’s Village Apiary in German Village, began overseeing the hive this spring. Bagley chose a location where the bees would be out of the way and not affect pedestrian traffic on the Statehouse grounds. She determined a flight path for the bees, pointing them in the direction she wanted them to go so that they would fly up and over the trees to get to the hive.
Bagley and Reed Johnson, an entomologist at The Ohio State University, discussed the Statehouse beehive, colony collapse and how important bees are to plants and people alike on All Sides with Ann Fisher on May 8. You can listen to the episode, “The Role of Healthy Bees,” here.
Adelaide is not the only new attraction at the Statehouse.
A 6’10” bronze statue of Thomas Edison holding an incandescent light bulb is on display inside the Statehouse, near the Rotunda, until October, when it travels to Washington, D.C. to be installed in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol Building.
The Edison statue will replace a statue of William Allen, governor of Ohio from 1874 to 1876, that now stands in Statuary Hall. Allen may have been a great debater and public speaker, but his vocal views on slavery prompted Ohio lawmakers to make a change. Recently, a state panel invited the public to vote on choices for new statue of a famous Ohioan, including Orville and Wilbur Wright and Jesse Owens. After about 50,000 people cast their votes, Edison was the winner.
The statue is the work of Zanesville sculptor Alan Cottrill, who also created an eight-foot bronze likeness of Woody Hayes on the main campus of The Ohio State University.