10 Things You Might Not Know About the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is easily the most recognized and well-loved monument in the world. Officially titled “Liberty Enlightening the World,” this 152-foot statue was given to the United States of America by the French to symbolize the special relationship existing between these two countries based on their love of peace and individual liberty.
Frederic Bartholdi, Lady Liberty's designer and sculptor, was inspired to complete this commemoration of America's independence as a joint project between these two nations – America would supply the pedestal and site, while the French would construct the statue.
Assembly of the Statue
The head and torch-bearing arm were finished first and these two pieces were displayed at Madison Square Park in New York between 1876 and 1882. The completed statue was assembled and installed on Liberty Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River. On October 28, 1886, this symbol of American freedom was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland and celebrated with New York's first ticker-tape parade.
Weighing 225 tons, the awe-inspiring Statue of Liberty portrays a woman wearing a 7-point spiked crown. She holds a torch above her head in her right hand and a tablet next to her body in her left. The 7-points of the spiked crown represent the seven continents and weigh up to 150 pounds each. Lady Liberty's tablet is inscribed with “July IV MDCCLXXVI,” or July 4, 1776, to mark America's Independence Day. Broken shackles representing oppression and tyranny are at her feet.
The original torch was replaced in 1986 during restoration and is now on display in the Statue of Liberty's lobby museum. The new torch is covered in thin sheets of 24 karat gold. The steel frame, which acts as a spine to support this colossal structure, was designed by Gustave Eiffel
The pedestal for the Statue is an 11-point star and was designed by Richard Morris Hunt. Renowned publisher Joseph Pulitzer spearheaded the public effort to finance the pedestal for Lady Liberty. More than 120,000 contributions were given, many of which were less than a dollar.
A plaque housed in the Statue's museum is engraved with Emma Lazarus' famous poem 'The New Colossus,' reading “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Steps and Windows
There are 354 steps from the base of Lady Liberty to the crown, which contains 25 windows. 300 sheets of copper cover the Statue of Liberty. Weathering has caused these coin-thin plates to become green over time.
The Symbol of Hope & Freedom
Each year more than 4 million people visit this breathtaking symbol of hope and freedom. Its staggering beauty inspires visitors to embrace the American dream. Standing at the base and gazing up at the majestic torch brings to mind the sacrifices made by each generation of Americans to ensure this nation's freedom. This stunning flame has also served as the beacon of hope to waves of immigrants who gave up so much for a chance to take advantage of the unique opportunities available to all in this great land. Looking out from the crown, an amazing view of the New York City skyline serves as an immediate reminder of what can be produced by American ingenuity and enterprise.
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