Facts About the Statue of Liberty

The famous Statue Of Liberty.
The famous Statue Of Liberty.

The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island, Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States. The statue, constructed mainly out of copper, was given as a gift to the United States from the people of France. The 151-foot high statue stands a total of 305 feet if measured from the ground level to the torch. It was designed by both Frederick Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor, and Gustave Eiffel, associated with the civil engineering of the Eiffel Tower in France. The construction of the statue was first proposed in 1875 and took a decade to be completed. On October 28, 1886, the statue was dedicated. The Statue of Liberty is a representation of freedom and features a female figure dressed in a robe representing a Roman goddess, Libertas. The statue carries a tablet inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence which is in her left arm while her right arm holds a torch over her head. At the statue's feet lay broken chains depicting freedom.

10. There are hundreds (yes, hundreds) of replicas all around the world.

Hundreds of imitations of the Statue of Liberty exist around the world. There are two replicas of the Statue of Liberty with a height of 30 feet on top of the Liberty National Bank, in Buffalo New York. Another 11-foot replica in San Marcos, California holds a bible instead of a tablet. Las Vegas famously has their own statue of liberty, while in Memphis, Tennessee another 25-foot imitation holds a cross instead of a torch and is known as the Statue of Liberation through Christ. Outside of the United States, there is an 115 feet copycat found at Heide Park, Soltau in Germany and another in Seine, France that was inaugurated three years after the original Statue of Liberty in 1889. Other replicas can be found in England, Norway, Argentina, Kosovo, Australia, China, Israel, Taiwan, Japan, and in Ukraine, where the Statue of Liberty is notably sitting down.

9. Until 2012, the superintendant of the Statue of Liberty National Monument lived on the island.

The house of the Superintendent on the Liberty Island was a simple two story house built with bricks having an L- shaped footprint. The house was constructed in the early 1950s to accommodate the superintendent of the statue of Liberty National Monument as well as the superintendent's family. The dwelling served as housing for the superintendent and their families from October 1952 to October 2012. David Luchsinger was the last superintendent of the Statue of Liberty to reside on the island. During Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the small house sustained numerous damages prompting Luchsinger to evacuate. The superintendent has resided offsite since.

8. During World War II, the statue did not shine at all.

During World War II the Statue of Liberty was not illuminated during the night as a result of blackout rules. However, it did remain open to visitors. On December 31, 1943, the statue was briefly illuminated and on June 6th, 1944, the statue's light flashed with a Morse code symbolizing victory. Between 1944 and 1945 a more powerful lighting was installed in the statue which began illuminating light after sunset for a few hours every evening. As of 1957, the statue began overnight illumination.

7. The arm of the statue was bombed in 1916.

During World War I, a disastrous explosion was set off by German saboteurs in Jersey City on the Black Tom Peninsula (present day Liberty State Park). Scores of explosives and dynamite being sent to France and Britain were detonated resulting in the death of seven people. The right arm of the Statue of Liberty bearing the torch sustained minor damages and was closed off for ten days in order for repairs to be done.

6. The cost of the statue's construction was fundraised.

The Statue of Liberty was given to the United States as a gift from France as a celebration of the American Revolution’s victory and the abolition of slavery. The cost of construction was funded through contributions from both the French and American sides. However, in 1885, the fundraising process began to deteriorate, threatening the construction of the statue. Joseph Pulitzer, a publisher of the New York World, started a fundraising initiative which would help complete the project. Pulitzer attracted over 120,000 donors most of whom pledged a dollar or less. The funds raised totaled $100,000 in a period of six months, which was more than enough to finish the construction.

5. The statue's torch used to be an observation deck.

Initially, tourists were allowed access to the observation deck on the torch of the statue. However, after the 1916 explosion, the narrow observation deck leading to the torch was closed for purposes of public safety. The observation deck never reopened.

4. The Statue of Liberty represents Libertas, the Roman Goddess.

Auguste Bartholdi designed the statue of liberty to represent the Roman Goddess Libertas. Many countries have paid homage to Libertas as a symbol of liberty. Her power to liberate is symbolized by the unbuckled chains at her feet. The goddess who was widely worshiped in ancient Rome represents liberty and freedom.

3. It was built by the same civil engineer as the Eiffel Tower.

Following the death of Viollet-le-Duc, the first architect chosen to design the statue, the project was taken over by Gustave Eiffel, an innovative designer and constructor. Gustave is also famous for having engineered the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Eiffel together with his structural engineer, Maurice Koechlin, immediately started working on the statue. The statue design featured four iron columns that support the metal framework that holds statue's copper skin which is less than an inch thick.

2. It was copper colored until 1900.

The Statue of Liberty did not have the color it has today from the time it was erected. Originally, the statue had a shiny copper color which over time turned to a greenish-blue hue due to oxidation of the metal. The US government opted not to renovate the statue by replacing the copper with another metal since it serves as a protection layer against further deterioration. The public had previously protested against the statue being painted on the outside, and instead, the statue was painted only on the inside.

1. Its official name is Liberty Englightening the World.

Before its current name, the Statue of Liberty was originally known as "Liberty Enlightening the World". The latter is actually what Auguste Bartholdi, the statue's designer, originally intended for it to be called. The name "Liberty Enlightening the World" can be directly translated into French. The current name Statue of Liberty was adopted for its easier pronounciation.


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