The History and Heritage Of The Statue Of Liberty
As one of the most iconic landmarks of the city of New York and of the United States of America, the Statue Of Liberty can be found on a small uninhabited island in New York Harbor called Liberty Island. The statue represents a symbol of freedom and a welcoming sight for immigrants hoping for e better life in the United States, all recognizing it from afar for its unique greenish-blue color. However, Lady Liberty wasn’t always so green, and as a matter of fact, she wasn’t even created by the American people.
This colossal structure was dedicated to the people of the United States by France on October 28, 1886, and it was designed and built in France by a renowned artist named Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi who worked closely with none other than Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. The statue was created between 1865 and 1886 piece by piece, and when important pieces such as the head and the arms were finalized, they were put on display for all to admire. Lady Liberty’s exquisite features were sculpted by Eiffel using the repoussé technique developed by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. When designing the statue, Bartholdi made sure to implement a series of key symbols into the layout. For example, the statue itself is a representation of Libertas, which is the roman goddess of freedom. The seven spikes on her crown represent the seven continents, while the tablet that she is holding is inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence – July 4, 1776. Finally, she holds a large flaming torch in one hand, and there is a broken chain on her feet that further represents the idea of breaking shackles and gaining freedom.
After all the parts were completed, the statue was presented to the U.S. minister to France, Levi P Morton, on July 4, 1884 in Paris. Afterwards, it was disassembled and shipped to the USA on board the French Navy ship called Isère, which arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885. Nonetheless, the statue could not be assembled right away because the pedestal was not yet complete, and so it was finally put together the following year on Bedloe’s Island, which is now known as Liberty Island. The assembling process was carried out with haste by a highly efficient crew that comprised multiple immigrants. As expected, the face of the statue was the last to be assembled and remained under veil until the official dedication. On October 28, 1886, the weather was rainy and foggy, but that did not matter at all for the one million New York citizens that arrived at the grand event. It was Bartholdi himself who was charged to release the tricolor French flag covering Lady Liberty’s face, and as he did, multiple guns fired in honor of this absolutely spectacular monument.
As the decades passed, Lady Liberty deteriorated and required numerous interventions, especially in 1938 and in between 1984 and 1986, when she was closed to the public and had a big part of her internal structure replaced. Due to the spectacular views that can be admired from the statue’s crown, millions of guests visited the landmark over the years. Recently, the entire Liberty Island was closed off because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy, but it was opened once more on July 4, 2013, and we hope that it will remain this way for a long time.
What you might not know about the Statue of Liberty:
- The statue was originally named Liberty Enlightening the World.
- Lady Liberty‘s height from the base of the pedestal to the tip of her torch is 305 feet and 6 inches.
- Lady Liberty’s shoe size is 879.
- The statue’s crown can be reached after climbing a total of 354 stairs.
- The crown has 25 windows.
- The statue’s exterior was made out of copper that changed its color from brown to green over the years due to oxidation.
- In 1984, the statue’s original torch was replaced by a copper torch covered in 24k gold leaf.
- The statue became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
- In 1944, the lights on the crown flashed the Morse code for V, for Victory in Europe.
- As part of his 1960s Pop Art series, Andy Warhol painted “Statue of Liberty”, which is now worth over $35 million.
- From 1986 to 1902, the statue functioned as a lighthouse.
- The statue celebrated its 127th birthday in October 2013.
- The $10 bill features 2 images of the statue.
- The cost for building the pedestal and the statue would amount to $10 million in modern money.
- The copper structure of the statue was created using 300 types of hammers.
- It is believed that over 600 bolts of lightning have struck the statue she was built.