Statue of Liberty History & Facts

statue of liberty

Facts & History for Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island in New York City and is approximately 305 feet tall in height, if you measure from the foundation of the pedestal to its torch. The Statue alone, If measured from the Statue's heel to torch, is a little over 111 feet tall in height.

- The reason why the Statue of Liberty is green or a green-blue color, is due to discoloration caused by natural chemical reactions. Most statues in the outdoors will have these sorts of natural reactions. The chemical reactions made copper salts which created the current greenish hue seen on the statue, in a process called "patination".

- Discussions of building a gift for the United States to celebrate the Centennial of the Declaration of Independence began in France prior to 1867, with French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi assigned the project. He was inspired by the Suez Canal project which a friend was working on.

- Bartholdi imagined a giant lighthouse standing at the entrance to the Suez Canal, and elaborated on this idea. He decided to create a structure that resembled the Roman goddess Libertas. He presented his plans in 1867 and re-designed plans in 1869, but the project was not approved due to finances.

- Bartholdi originally wanted to present the completed statue to the United States on July 4, 1876 but many delays prevented this. At that time, the right arm and torch were completed and put on display at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

- The completed head of the statue was put on display at the Paris Exposition on June 30, 1878.

- Bartholdi was granted a design patent for the statue February 18, 1879, and funding for the statue was completed in France in July of 1882.

- Several small scale models of the Statue of Liberty were built prior to the monument today. One was built in 1870 and displayed in Paris, while another was displayed in Brazil in 1869.

- The French frigate named Isère delivered the statue in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885. It was packed into 214 total crates and disassembled to over 300 pieces.

- On April 22, 1886, the pedestal base for the statue was finally completed. A final touch was given when the masons working on the project tossed silver coins into the mortar.

- The statue was presented to America as a gift from the people of France in 1886 as a representation of the enduring liberty and union of the Country after the Civil War. President Grover Cleveland presented the statue on October 28, 1886.

- The statue was considered the Eighth wonder of the world when it was erected in 1886, as it was the tallest structure in the city and tallest statue in the entire world.

- The width of the Statue of Liberty's skin is just 2 inches. Supporting the statue are extensive steel frames designed by the builder of the Eiffel Tower.

- The pedestal that the Statue of Liberty sits atop of was built on top of Fort Wood on Bedloe's Island. Fort Wood was part of the inner harbor's defenses during the Revolutionary War. Today, inside the pedestal is a museum for visitors.

- From 1886 to 1902, the Statue of Liberty functioned mainly as a lighthouse on Bedloe's Island. An electric plant was on the island used to supply electric power to the statue, making it the first lighthouse to use electricity.

- In 1956, the Island known as Bedloe's Island was renamed Liberty Island.

- In 1966 the Statue of Liberty as well as Ellis Island and Liberty Island were all listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

- The original torch of the Statue of Liberty is on display in the museum/pedestal lobby.

-The following poem by Emma Lazarus is etched on a bronze plaque inside the walls of the statue's pedestal:

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed, sunset-gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome, her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin-cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she,
With silent lips. "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!"

Tourist/Visitor Information:

- The statue is open everyday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Currently only the Statue of Liberty's base/pedestal and museum are accessible to the public.

- Visitors can climb to the top of the pedestal to get some amazing 360 degree views of the harbor as well as a closer look at the statue itself.

- There are also tours available from National Park Service Rangers which take about 45 minutes and cover the history of the monument.

More info is available by calling the Statue of Liberty National Monument National Park Service at (212) 363-3200.

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