The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic and well-recognized structures in the United States, becoming a very literal representation of the American ideals for immigrants coming to the U.S. throughout history. For the 12 million immigrants that passed through the halls of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty was the first thing people saw upon arriving.
Its poem has been at the center of American ideals with the lines "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," more relevant than ever.
The Statue of Liberty has appeared in films on t-shirts and across Instagram profiles. But, how much do you know about the Statue of Liberty? Today we are going to explore some of the most interesting facts, history bits, and information surrounding this statue.
1. Sealing a friendship between the United States and France
The Statue of Liberty is shrouded in symbolism, however, there was an original purpose for lady liberty entering the states. Lady Liberty is actually a french export. The construction of the statue was created as a means to officially seal the friendship between France and the United States.
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and his team, that included Eiffel Tower designer Gustave Eiffel, began construction of the copper statue in 1875. It was exhibited at the World’s Fair. France gave the massive statue to America in 1886.
2. A functioning lighthouse
Aside from being a symbolic beacon, the Statue of Liberty was a very literal beacon for people traveling. Two years after making its official debut in the New York Harbor, the copper statue doubled as a lighthouse and would go on to continue that role for 16 years. Nevertheless, Lady Liberty was not the best at her job and was shut off because her light was too dim for ships.
3. Lady Liberty has massive feet
Now you might think you have big feet but Lady Liberty is on a whole different level. The Statue of Liberty wears a size 879 shoe, which makes sense as she weighs about 225 tons. From base to torch, Lady Liberty is 305 feet and 1 inch tall. If you want to fully check out the statue, you must climb her 354 stairs or 20 stories.
4. She is an icon
Over 4.5 million people ferry their way to the statue every year. If you have already gone to the Statue of Liberty, you should go back and check out the amazing Statue of Liberty Museum that opened in May of 2019. The new museum promises to give guests a new way to experience its history and Lady Liberty.
5. The statue came to New York in pieces
The statue was actually not transported in one big piece because of its massive size. The French decided the best way to transport Lady Liberty was in multiple pieces. How many exact? The Statue of Liberty reached Bedloe Island in 350 different pieces.
6. There is a lot of symbolism on the statue
There is actually a ton of symbolism scattered across Lady Liberty. The crown on her head with its seven rays represents the seven continents and seas. The torch represents enlightenment, while the tablet in her other hand with the inscription JULY IV MDCCLXXVI is the official day of American independence.
The Statue of Liberty also faces South East, which is intentional, as a means to welcome the immigrants on ships coming to the United States.
7. She eventually needed a makeover
A little self-care is always great. From 1984-1986 the Statue of Liberty was renovated getting a very much needed makeover. The full change required scientists, engineers, government organizations, and other professionals. The statue was filled with holes and rust. The team went through repairing any faults with the statue eventually adding gold leaf to the torch.
8. That iconic green color
That green color is not Lady Liberty’s original color. The iconic green color is a product of copper’s oxidation process. The original sculpture was originally a reddish-brown color, the same color you might find on the American penny. That green color would slowly take hold of the statue over the years.
9. There is more than just one
If you want to get up close and personal to the statue, you can find statues scattered around Paris. Several smaller replicas of Lady Liberty have appeared including a 9.4-foot-tall copy cast by Bartholdi himself in the Musée d’Orsay.
If you were to travel to Musée des Arts et Métiers, you can find one both outside the industrial design museum, while you can find the original plaster maquette on the inside of the museum. Back in the US, you can find a replica in Las Vegas.
Have you traveled to the Statue of Liberty?