History of Statue of Liberty (New York)

It was the French historian, Edoard de Laboulaye, who proposed since 1865 that his country make a commemorative gift to the United States of America, on the occasion of the first centenary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Although the French allies of that time protested the initiative, the sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi traveled to North American lands to meet with the authorities. A monument like the one being projected had too high a cost, so a Franco-American Union was formed to raise funds.

The idea of ​​the French republic making a gift to American citizens came to the sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi one summer night in 1865, while dining at the home of a French historian. Six years later, during a trip to New York, Bartholdi, who was 37 years old at the time, discovered the perfect location for the statue: Bedloe Island, in the upper part of New York Bay, a visible place for all ships to come to the port. The choice of the statue’s face gave many headaches to Bartholdi, who finally decided to give him the grim features of his mother, a Protestant fanatic who had driven her son crazy, literally speaking, by forbidding him to marry the woman. what he wanted: a Jewess. Another problem was finding the right materials to build a statue that would resist the elements and, at the same time, was light to transport it by sea, and was inspired by the Colossus of Rhodes, which was hollow, covered in bronze, he used thin sheets of copper.

According to a2zcamerablog, this monument is a gift made the 4 of July of 1884, by the French people to the North America, commemorating the alliance made by the two nations during the American Revolution. A monument like the one being projected had too high a cost, so a Franco-American Union was formed to raise funds. The total cost of the statue was one million francs, it was fully covered by the French people. Meanwhile, the North Americans contributed the 250 thousand dollars necessary for the pedestal. In his right hand, in an elevated position, the divinity represented in the statue carries an illuminated torch; In his left hand, he carries the tablet of the law inscribed with Roman numerals the date of July 4, 1776.

Also, a broken chain lies at his feet. The Statue of Liberty was established as a national monument in 1924 and its maintenance is under the responsibility of the National Park Service. The figure is made of a copper frame 2.4 millimeters thick, and its support is an iron plate designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, creator of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.


The process of its elaboration required Bartholdi to build a model of three meters, which was increased to make a figure of 11 meters high divided into sections. Each section was later enlarged as well and at the end all of them were put in place in the central structure. The statue was to be raised on a pedestal as high as she was, so that it would rise about 93 m above ground level. But no more than half the money needed to build the pedestal had been raised. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer launched a campaign encouraging donations to be made for this cause and published in his popular newspaper, the New York World., the names of how many were contributing to the work, with much or little money. Finally, 121,000 people contributed more than $100,000.

The Statue of Liberty had been packed for 15 months when its pedestal was completed. The pieces were unpacked and assembled on the Eiffel structure, from bottom to top, without external scaffolding. On 28 October as as 1886, Liberty finally raised his torch on its new home. It was built in Paris with a central metal structure designed by Gustave Eiffel, then it was disassembled and shipped by ship to America. It is around 46 meters tall and weighs 225 tons.

Its pedestal was built with money from different sources from the United States. On the occasion of the bicentennial of France, the United States gave this country a copy of the torch of the Statue of Liberty, which was located on the side of the River Seine, in Paris. In 1984 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the most recognized monuments in the United States of America. The statue basically represents freedom, independence from Great Britain.

The Statue is located on Liberty Island Liberty Island in New York Harbor, about 2.6 kilometers south of the point closest to the south of Manhattan. The statue is depicted holding a torch in the right hand and a table in the left. The table shows the inscription JULY VI MDCCLXXVI [July 4, 1776], the day of the American Declaration of Independence. One of his feet is chained, and symbolizes freedom. The seven peaks of the Statue’s tiara symbolize the seven continents “… Description The Statue of Liberty is the largest ever built. It weighs 240,000 kilos, has a height of 46 meters and stands on a 45.7 meter high pedestal with a seven-pointed crown on the head, representing the seven continents.

The spirit of the statue is translated by the famous poem by Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”, inscribed on a plaque placed inside the pedestal. This poem concludes as follows:

Give me your poor and tired beings. Give me those masses eager to be free, the sad wastes of populous shores. Let the helpless come Let the storms beat. My torch lights a golden threshold.

Acquisition of the island

The statue is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The island was originally known as Bedloe Island, and it served as a military base. Fort Wood was housed here, an old artillery bastion built in granite and whose foundations in the shape of an eleven-pointed star, served as the basis for the construction of the statue’s plinth. The choice of land and its obtaining required several steps. In 1887, the United States Congress gave its approval for the construction of the statue and General WT Sherman was appointed to designate the land where the monument would be built. The latter chose the island of Bedloe as its location. Fifteen years before the inauguration, Bartholdi had already planned the construction of the monument on the island of Bedloe, fascinated by the youth and promises of freedom of that nation and imagined it oriented towards its continent of origin, the Europe that welcomed and was going to continue. welcoming immigrants.

It was not until 1956 that the United States Congress decided to change the name of Bedloe Island to Liberty Island “Liberty Island.” The United States Ambassador to France, Levi P. Morton, placed the first rivet of the statue’s construction in Paris on October 24, 1881. This island is a national park. Annually about three million people visit this park; This can be done on speedboats that depart from New York City and the Hudson Rivershoreline in New Jersey. The cost of maintaining the monument, the gardens and the national park in general is approximately ten million dollars per year.

Lighthouse in New York

The statue functioned as a lighthouse between the date of its assembly and 1902. At that time, the “US Lighthouse board” was in charge of ensuring its operation. A lighthouse keeper had been assigned to the statue and the power of its light beam was such that it was visible at a distance of 24 miles. An electric generator was installed on the island in order to supply power to the structure.


In the early 1980s the condition of the Statue of Liberty was examined and it turned out that it was completely falling apart. More than a century of exposure to the elements and the visit of millions of travelers, who climbed inside, caused serious corrosion. As part of its restoration work, the torch was changed, creating a new copper flame in 1985, with thin sheets of 24 carat gold plate. The renovation of the statue was completed for its centenary, celebrating its re-inauguration on July 3, 1986.

The original lighting system has been replaced several times by more modern equipment. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson inaugurated the first system that met the initial expectations for lighting the statue, consisting of two hundred and forty-six projectors, using 250 W incandescent lamps, located at the points of the star at the base of the monument and other points of the island, and fifteen of 500 W in the torch. Later, in 1931 and 1945, the previous lighting was intensified, more eye-catching effects were added and shadows were eliminated.

Along with the improvement project illumination 1916, the torch was initially copper was reformed using 600 individual pieces Stained total colored yellow to enhance and beautify lighting effects to the light. This work was executed by Gutzon Borglum, known for his colossal Mount Rushmore sculptures. The light output of the torch was also increased. On July 30 of that same year, due to an act of sabotage known as the Black Tom Explosion, access to the torch was officially closed.

Although when the construction of the base began, the installation of an elevator had already been planned inside, the first was not installed until 1908 – 1909. Later it was replaced by a more modern one in 1931. In 1949 a heating system was installed at the base of the statue. Before this improvement, during the winter months, the enormous mass of the base (about 48,000 tons) became increasingly cold, and when the outside airbecame warmer in March, condensation occurred.that permeated the walls and that damaged the structure and its facilities. On the other hand, heating, in addition to solving cooling and condensation problems at the base, added greater comfort to employees and visitors.

In 1937 several platforms and ladders were replaced on the statue’s pedestal. An inspection was made of the structure and the copper plates of the statue, from the torch to the beams on which the structure rests. The iron bracket was replaced in the sections where it had rusted, and the rivets that had come loose were replaced with new ones and the head crown frames were rebuilt with new iron ones. No renovations were made to the spiral staircase inside the statue.

History of Statue of Liberty (New York)