130 Years Ago Today: Statue Of Liberty Arrives In New York Harbor

Statue of Liberty, Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Today marks the one hundred and thirtieth year since the Statue of Liberty – the most iconic landmark representing freedom and democracy in the world – first arrived in New York Harbor. Sculpted by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, who conceived the idea in 1870, “Lady Liberty” was originally intended as a gift from the people of France to celebrate America’s 100th birthday.

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi Sculpter Of The Statue of Liberty
Frederic Auguste Bartholdi

When 1876 rolled around, however, the Statue was not finished.  In fact, Bartholdi would not complete her until 1884, with some engineering assistance from Gustave Eiffel (the maker of the Eiffel Tower) who designed her internal structure. Bartholdi entitled his work, “Liberty Enlightening the World” (French, La Liberté éclairant le monde).  To most, however, she is now referred to simply as “the Statue of Liberty,” “Lady Liberty,” or even just “the Statue.”

To commemorate this 130-year anniversary, a number of Internet sources are featuring articles about the Statute of Liberty, many with stunning photographs of the landmark. Time’s online magazine, for example, has a marvelous set of photographs today, featuring 14 images taken from various vantage points and at various times.

Below are a couple of examples from the Time article.  The full set of photographs is truly worth viewing.

Statue of Liberty 1931
Statue of Liberty 1931
Statue of Liberty Unknown Date
Statue of Liberty Unknown Date

The Statue of Liberty was also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage monument in 1984.  Many additional photographs of the Statue, like the one below, can be found at the UNESCO site.

Statue of Liberty UNESCO World Heritage Monument
Statue of Liberty UNESCO World Heritage Monument

Fun Facts About The Statue Of Liberty

How good is your Statue of Liberty knowledge?  Here are 10 fun facts about the Statue, which you may not know:

  1. The robed, female figure represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom;
  2. She holds a torch in her right hand; in her left hand, she holds a tablet which is inscribed with the date July 4, 1776, the date of the American Declaration of Independence;
  3. Approximately 4 million people visit the Statue each year, climbing 354 stairs to reach the Statue’s crown;
  4. There are 7 spikes on the crown, representing the 7 continents.  This symbolizes the universal nature of liberty;
  5. The external surface of the Statue is made from copper, which required the use of 300 different types of hammers to complete;
  6. The cost of the Statue was funded by contributions in both France and America.  In America, the vast majority of contributions were in sums less than one dollar;
  7. The total cost of building the Statue and its pedestal amounted to over $500,000, the equivalent of more than $10 million today;
  8. In 1916, the Statue sustained damage to the torch-bearing arm due to a bomb exploded by World War I German saboteurs.  This explosion resulted in the closure of the stairs to the torch, which have remained closed ever since;
  9. The Statue was also closed temporarily as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and again in 2012 as a result of the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  The Statue was reopened on July 4, 2013;
  10. The famous poem associated with the Statue, entitled “The New Colossus,” was written by Emma Lazarus in 1883.  According to Wikipedia, the poem was written to raise money for the construction of the Statue’s pedestal.  The poem was engraved on a bronze plaque inside the pedestal’s lower level in 1903, and contains the well-known phrase, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

On this 130-year anniversary, take some time to re-acquaint yourself with America’s greatest civil rights landmark, the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty Against New York Skyline
Statue of Liberty Against New York Skyline

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