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At last, Jefferson statue resides in his Capitol

Thursday - 5/3/2012, 6:42pm  ET

AP Political Writer

RICHMOND, Va. - More than 230 years after Thomas Jefferson designed the Virginia Capitol, a statue of him is finally on permanent display in the landmark.

The $300,000 bronze sculpture was unveiled Thursday for an invitation-only gathering in the 5-year-old subterranean Capitol Extension beneath the south lawn of Capitol Square.

The event, featuring Gov. Bob McDonnell, House Speaker Bill Howell and other legislative leaders, honored three Virginia families which together paid the cost of the statue. The state spent no public money.

A public dedication is scheduled Friday.

The sculpture, titled "Thomas Jefferson: Architect of Liberty," weighs 800 pounds and sits atop a 3-ton limestone pedestal. It is nearly one-fifth larger than Jefferson was in real life, and depicts the Declaration of Independence author at age 42 holding his blueprints for the Capitol.

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