The famous and unique Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous sculptures in the world, often referred to as “the symbol of New York and the United States”, “the symbol of freedom and democracy”, “Lady Liberty”.

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History

Left: The hand and torch of the Statue of Liberty are being created in a studio in Paris, 1876. Right: the creation of the head of the Statue of Liberty in a studio in Paris, 1880.

The Statue of Liberty was given to the United States by the French government to mark the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The giant figure was called “Liberty Illuminating the World” and was created for 10 years in the art studio of sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Gustave Eiffel, the creator of the Eiffel Tower, designed the internal steel frame for it. The gift was scheduled to be presented on July 4, 1876, but the celebration had to be postponed because of lack of funds, which had to be supplemented by voluntary donations.

The finished statue stands outside the sculptor Bartholdi’s studio in Paris

Practical Americans didn’t understand for the sake of such romantic utopias they had to part with their labor income.

Bartholdi was forced to send to the states a 15-meter-high statue fragment, his right hand and torch, which he installed in Philadelphia at the Centennial Exhibition. They charged 50 cents (at the time, decent money) to climb into the torch itself. Then the arm with the torch was moved to New York City and installed in Madison Square Garden. Still, money was obviously in short supply.

And then Joseph Pulitzer, a young journalist, editor and publisher of the World newspaper, took up the cause. At the age of 18, he came to New York penniless from Hungary and began his career as a newspaper peddler. He then began to write police chronicles, small notes, and pretty quickly became the owner of the dying New York World newspaper. He instantly restructured its work, appealing to thousands of new immigrants like himself, well aware of their needs and aspirations. So Pulitzer abruptly became involved in the fund-raising campaign.

“This statue is not a gift from French millionaires to American millionaires,” he wrote angrily, “it is a gift from the French to all Americans. Take it as an appeal made to you personally!”

Within five months the necessary amount was raised. This action brought Pulitzer fame and tripled the newspaper’s circulation. And these days the Pulitzer Prize is the most prestigious award for journalists.

Queen Mary ocean liner and Statue of Liberty, June 1, 1936 Bedloe Island, where the Statue of Liberty was erected, was originally a slum area

Finally, on October 28, 1886, U.S. President Grover Cleveland took the Statue of Liberty to the thunder of fanfare on Bedloe Island, renamed in 1956 after the famous statue as Liberty Island.

Visitors look out from the statue’s crown, October 26, 1946

Initially, there was an agreement between the two governments whereby the French side was responsible for the construction and transportation of the statue, while America prepared a place for it and erected an appropriate pedestal. Both the French and Americans agreed that a small island at the entrance of New York harbor would be best suited for their purposes. The foundations for Fort Wood, in the shape of a ten-pointed star, had already been laid there at one time. It may well have served as the foundation for the grandiose pedestal, the first stone of which was laid in 1884.

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The 47 m high statue itself would be encased in copper sheets no thicker than 2.4 mm. The thin copper had to be minted on a special wooden mould. As a result Bartholdi and his assistants produced 350 separate pieces of cladding, which were shipped to the United States in July 1884. On Bedloe Island they were put together like a huge construction set and put on a steel frame made by Eiffel.

The old torch of the Statue of Liberty

The frame consists of four monumental steel supports running the full height of the statue. These supports are attached to the pedestal by huge steel bolts. Spread across the main supports is a lacey steel frame, which Bartholdi lined with hundreds of parts of his constructor. To give the statue sufficient strength and flexibility, each element of the copper cladding was provided with its own independent beam. Bartholdi had reckoned in advance that the cladding material would make it easier for him to assemble the statue, because the thin sheet copper is easily bent and cut. This allowed the final adjustment of the parts right on the statue, in the process of assembling. Anyway, the Statue of Liberty is undoubtedly a model of skill of the talented French engineer.

Restoration of the Statue of Liberty, 1984

In an ensemble with a plinth designed in the classical style by architect Richard M. Hunt, the statue stands 95 meters tall from the base to the top of the golden tongues of flame. The seven rays on its crown symbolize the seven seas. For many travelers who crossed the Atlantic to reach America, the Statue of Liberty was a symbol of freedom, independence and prosperity.

On the occasion of its 100th anniversary in 1986, the Statue of Liberty received a “facelift.” The salty sea air had so corroded its structure that a major restoration was required. Voluntary contributions from citizens across America more than covered the $2 million needed for the work. This statue means a great deal to the citizens of America – and not just them.

An invitation to hope

In a figurative sense, the Statue of Liberty was the first sign of the new world to the many millions of immigrants coming to America over the past two centuries.

The famous words on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty are by New York poet Emma Lazarus, which were written after a wave of pogroms swept through Russia in the 1880s that forced many Jews to cross the Atlantic.

Her lines have since gained a universal resonance, serving as a beacon of hope for all the dispossessed and persecuted: And give me from the depths of the bottomless depths My outcasts, my slaughtered people, Send me the outcasts, the homeless, I will candle them at the golden door!

Tourists

Liberty Island can be reached by ferry from Battery Park Pier. When you enter the park, you’ll see a long organized line, like you once did to the Mausoleum, these are the people who want to visit the island with the statue and you might want to join them.

Visits to the crown are once again permitted, but seating is limited, so tickets must be reserved in advance. Those who have not done so will have to walk around the grounds around the statue and climb up to the 16th floor observation deck; a special glass ceiling allows you to see the impressive “insides” of the statue. A visit to the island by ferry is usually combined with a visit to neighboring Ellis Island. Ferries (Tel: 201-604-2800, 877-523-9849; www.statuecruises.com; adult/child $13/5; every 30 min. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., longer in summer) depart from Battery Park. The nearest subway stations are South Ferry and Bowling Green. By booking your ferry tickets in advance (visiting the Crown is an additional $3) , you will visit both attractions.

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Statue of Liberty Ferry at Battery Park Pier Inside the crown of the Statue of Liberty

A tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty is best taken during warm weather and daylight hours.

Of course, there are far fewer people willing to do it in the winter, so. if you’re not afraid of the icy, piercing wind that gets to your skin through your warmest down coats and gloves, it’s worth a try. A boat trip is wonderful, but being outdoors in the cold is quite extreme in its feel. Ellis Island is home to the old immigration center where all new arrivals were admitted and registered, now a museum.

The Statue of Liberty in New York: description, history of creation, interesting facts

Perhaps the most famous and most recognizable monument on the planet can be considered the Statue of Liberty. It is located in New York, on a small island with the same name. The world famous sculpture was created in the second half of the XIX century and today is one of the key symbols of the United States of America.

Who designed this monument? What is inside it? What role did the sculpture play in the life of the American nation? In our article you will find many interesting facts not only about the architecture, but also about the history of the Statue of Liberty.

Where is the object located?

In the ranking of the planet’s tallest monuments, the Statue of Liberty in New York ranks 13th. The height of the statue together with the pedestal is 93 meters. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the main attractions of the “Big Apple”.

The full name of the monument is “Liberty Enlightening the World”. This colossal and symbolic statue for the United States is located on Liberty Island. That, in turn, is about three kilometers southwest of the southern edge of the famous Manhattan.

The size of the island is small: about 370 meters long and 180 meters wide. There is a park, cafes, piers, gift store and, actually, the monument itself. You can get to the island by ferry. The exact coordinates of the Statue of Liberty in New York City are 40° 41′ 21″ N and 74° 02′ 40″ W.

The main parameters of the statue

Statue of Liberty is a steel frame covered with sheet copper. The total weight of the structure is 204 tons. The dimensions of the Statue of Liberty:

  • Total height (from the surface of the ground to the tip of the torch) – 93 meters.
  • The height of the sculpture itself – 46 meters.
  • The height of the pedestal – 27 m.
  • The width of the waist of the statue – 10.7 m.
  • The length of the right arm – 12.8 m.
  • The number of steps (up to the crown of the statue) – 354.

Statue of Liberty in New York

The Statue of Liberty in New York is a symbol of American independence. This is vividly emphasized by the broken fetters at the sculpture’s feet. In his right hand the statue holds a torch, and in the left – the tablets with the date carved in Roman numerals: “July 4, 1776”. It was on this day, as we know, that the Declaration of Independence of the United States was adopted. Seven rays crowning the crown of the statue symbolize the seven continents of the Earth (the Western geographical tradition distinguishes exactly seven, not six continents).

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History of the Statue of Liberty

Everyone knows that this sculpture was a gift to the United States from France. This gift was timed to coincide with the centennial of American independence, but the grand opening of the monument occurred only ten years later. Why did it happen so? And when was the Statue of Liberty built? About all this we will tell a little later.

The author of the Statue of Liberty is considered to be Frederic Auguste Bartholdi – the famous French sculptor and architect. Although originally the idea of creating such a monument came to the mind of the writer and social activist Edouard Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye. According to Bartholdi, he told him about this idea in a personal conversation back in 1865. After some time, the architect decided to translate it into reality.

The Statue of Liberty is a joint French-American project. And the sculpture itself was made in France by parts, and the Americans erected the corresponding pedestal for it. The head of the project had a clear deadline: to complete the monument by 1876. But the economic crisis on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as a severe lack of money, made adjustments to these ambitious plans.

Fundraising and Eiffel’s help

Once work began, it became apparent that much more money would be needed for this project than originally planned. Both in the United States and in France simultaneously launched a major campaign to raise the necessary funds. A variety of tools were used: art exhibits, charity balls, concerts, sporting events and even raffles.

Nevertheless, the fund-raising was rather sluggish. But the cause was helped by the eloquence of Joseph Pulitzer (the same Pulitzer after whom the most prestigious prize in the field of literature and journalism is named today). In the pages of his own newspaper, The New York World, he published a series of rather harsh articles urging him to join in the funding of an important project.

At the same time Frederick Bartholdi turned for help to another famous architect – Alexander Gustave Eiffel. The latter developed a sturdy and robust iron frame construction for the statue.

Statue of Liberty construction history

By 1876 the copper arm with the torch was ready, by 1878 the head of the statue. The presentation of the finished sculpture took place in July 1884 in Paris. Then it was disassembled into separate fragments and sent to the USA. The voyage across the ocean was long and rather dangerous – during one of the storms, the ship with the most valuable cargo nearly sank. The statue arrived in New York on July 17, 1885. Assembly and installation of the statue on the pedestal took another four months.

The official ceremony of opening of the monument took place on October 28, 1886, with participation of the US president Grover Cleveland. During his inaugural address he uttered the following words:

“We shall always remember that liberty has chosen this place to be its home, and that its altar will never be covered by oblivion!”

Who was the model for Lady Liberty?

There is, alas, no definite answer to this question. According to one of the most widespread versions, from a height of 93 meters the French Isabella Boyer, wife of entrepreneur and sewing machine creator Isaac Singer, is looking at New York City residents and visitors.

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According to another version, Frederic Bartholdi captured in the statue the austere and beautiful face of his mother, Charlotte. Which of these two hypotheses is true remains a mystery to this day.

An interesting detail: today the sculpture has a greenish-blue hue. However, in the original, the statue was golden (the color of an American penny). But because the statue was made of copper, over time the metal has oxidized and acquired its modern color. More curious facts about this monument you will find further in our article.

Statue of Liberty: interesting facts

  • The foot of the statue is of the Greek type.
  • According to one version, the copper for the American “Lady of Liberty” was bought from the Russian industrialists Demidovs and extracted from the mines of Nizhny Tagil.
  • At the time the Statue of Liberty was created, Frederic Bartholdi was a member of the Alsace-Lorraine Masonic Lodge.
  • Only men (except for the wife of the chief architect and the president’s daughter) were present at the ceremony of unveiling the monument.
  • Initially, Frederic Bartholdi wanted to install his Statue of Liberty at the entrance to the Suez Canal. But the then Egyptian ruler Ismail Pasha was not interested in the architect’s proposal.
  • Strong winds rock the statue, and the amplitude of the fluctuation of the torch can reach 12 centimeters.
  • Up to 1906, the Statue of Liberty also served as a lighthouse.
  • Lady of Liberty makes an indelible impression on all migrants, who sailed into New York harbor in search of a better life for the first time. In 1903, a bronze plaque with lines from Emma Lazarus’ poetry was bolted to the base of the monument: “Give me your weariness, your poverty, and breathe freely.”
  • The sculpture’s torch takes about 600 lightning strikes a year.

Statue of Liberty

The statue outside and inside

Inside, the Statue of Liberty is hollow. There is a steel frame, which weighs no less than 125 tons. Gustave Eiffel designed it so that large groups of people could move freely inside it. There are spiral staircases, which can be used to climb to the observation deck. It offers great views of New York Harbor and the metropolis itself.

Statue of Liberty observation deck with 25 windows is located in its crown. To get here you have to climb a total of 354 steps. On the outside, the statue’s steel frame is lined with skillfully applied copper sheets that are only 2.4 millimeters thick. The total weight of the sculpture’s copper “casing” is 31 tons.

inside of the Statue of Liberty

The statue as an architectural monument

The Statue of Liberty became a national monument of the United States in 1924. Ten years later the whole territory of the island was declared a protected area. In 1984, the monument was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Throughout its history, the Statue of Liberty has been restored many times. The last major restoration of the monument took place in the mid-80s. With the active participation of the then U.S. President Ronald Reagan almost 87 million dollars were raised. In July 1986 (to the centennial of the monument) the restored “Lady Liberty” was reopened to the public.

Today, the monument is equipped with a laser illumination system.

The statue in culture and film

The Statue of Liberty occupies an important place in the cultural life of the American nation. Thus, its image can be found on coins, postage stamps, emblems of sports clubs, logos of various organizations and institutions. She is mentioned on the pages of hundreds of literary works. It can be seen in dozens of films.

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Statue of Liberty interesting facts

If we talk about movies, the famous sculpture appears with enviable frequency in American films. The most famous films in which you can see the Statue of Liberty:

  • “Planet of the Apes” (1968).
  • “European Vacation” (1985).
  • “Ghostbusters” (1990).
  • “Home Alone 2” (1992).
  • “Judge Dredd” (1995).
  • “Independence Day” (1996).
  • “Titanic” (1997).
  • “X-Men” (2000).
  • “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004).

The list, of course, is incomplete. It is interesting to note that in many American films not the nicest things happen to the Statue of Liberty. For example, in “Artificial Intelligence” it sinks, in the thriller “Monstro” its head is sawed off, and “Ghostbusters” and managed to bring the statue to life, in order to deal with its main villain.

Visiting the monument

As a rule, the Statue of Liberty is open to visitors every day, from 8:30 to 16:00 hours. Admission is free, but you will have to buy a ticket for the ferry that takes tourists to the island. Tickets cost $25 USD for an adult and $15 USD for a child (prices as of fall 2018). Ferries to Liberty Island depart from two piers, Battery Park (Manhattan) and Liberty State Park (Jersey City).

Statue of Liberty observation deck

There is also a museum at the base of the monument, which tells the history of the statue’s erection. It is accessible by elevator.

Safety Issues

Originally, visitors to the statue had access not only to the crown of the monument, but also to the torch of the “Lady of Liberty.” However, this staircase was closed in 1916 for security reasons.

In 2001, after the sad events of September 11, the Statue of Liberty was closed for visitors. Since 2004, tourists were given access to the museum, located in the pedestal. Full access, including the observation deck of the monument, was opened only in 2012.

Today, all tourists wishing to visit the statue are subjected to careful screening at the entrance to avoid possible terrorist attacks.

The most famous copies

How many “twins” of the Statue of Liberty there are in the world is unknown. It is not excluded that their total list is counted not even by dozens, but by hundreds of sculptures. Further we will tell you about the most known copies of the New York Statue of Liberty.

The “Lady of Liberty” in Paris is the most famous double. She towers over the River Seine, standing at the tip of Swan Island. The statue was given to Paris by the American diaspora in 1889. It is exactly the same as the original, the only difference being that the Paris sculpture is four times as tall as the New York one.

Statue of Liberty in Paris

A similar-sized copy is in the city of Tokyo. Japanese “Lady Liberty” is installed on the island of Odaiba. It is very popular among tourists, it is always very crowded.

There are also quite original copies of the monument. So, in Lviv is located the world’s only sitting Statue of Liberty. It is not easy to notice it – it is perched on the eaves of the old house on the Shevchenko Boulevard. In another Ukrainian city, Uzhgorod, you can find a miniature statue of Liberty, which is only 30 centimeters high.

author of the Statue of Liberty

Another original double is located in the town of Vasquey in northern France. It is interesting because it has two torches, one for each arm of the statue.

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