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Guides » United States » The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty

While there are a number of historical sites, one of the most recognized in the United States is the Statue of Liberty in New York City. Given to the country by France in 1865 as a gift, this statue is now the symbol of freedom. The construction of the statue was finally completed in 1884 in France and then just one year later, was dismantled and shipped to New York where it would be put back together. In all, 350 pieces were shipped to make the massive status that now is seen on Liberty Island. Known as Lady Liberty, the statue is open to visitors who can go up to the top where an observatory is located, providing the most spectacular view of the harbor and city possible.

The statue of liberty weighs a staggering 27,000 tons, is 53 feet deep, 91 square feet at the base, and at the level of the original Fort Wood, 65 feet square. The statue sits on a granite pedestal that has massive concrete walls, varying in thickness from eight to nineteen feet. The Statue of Liberty While the statue stood proudly for many years, in the summer of 1916 during World War I, a site near Black Tom Wharf in neighboring New Jersey was blown up by the Germans. With extensive damage to many structures on Ellis Island, some of the bolts holding Lady Liberty’s arm were popped out. With this, the statue was closed four about seven days but ever since, the arm has been off limits to visitors.

The sculptor, Batholdi, chose his mother, Mme. Batholdi as the original model for the design of the statue but being of old age, sitting for long periods was difficult. Therefore, he turned his attention to another model, his mistress who was younger and physically capable or sitting. This second model, Jeanne-Emilie Baheaux de Puysieux eventually became his wife, a woman he met in Newport, Rhode Island in 1871 while visiting the country for the first time. Although this statue is magnificent to see, it is the representation making her such an important of the American culture.

The Statue of Liberty is loaded with all types of trivia, which has been incorporated into popular board games. For example, the left arm holds the famous torch, at 50 miles per hour, the wind will cause the statue to sway up to three inches while the torch will sway up to five inches, there are 25 total windows in the crown, and the crown has seven rays of diadem, which stands for the seven oceans of the world. Other fascinating aspects of the statue include the inscription on the tablet that reads, “July 5, 1776” in Roman numerals, the height from the base to torch being 151.1 feet, the pedestal foundation to the torch being 305.1 feet, the measurements from heel to top of head being 111.1 feet, and the length of the hand, 16.5 feet.

To make the Statue of Liberty, 179,200 pounds of fine copper was used in addition to 250,000 pounds of steel. Because of this massive amount of material, the statue weighs an astounding 450,000 pounds. Even Lady Liberty has a dress made from 4,000 square yards of fabric, something many people are unaware of. For this, she wears what is called a Palla, which is a cloak that fastens to her left shoulder with a clasp. Then under the Palla is a Stola, falling in numerous folds gracefully down to her feet. Okay, so what is Lady Liberty’s shoe size - An amazing 879, with a foot measuring 25 feet long!

While in New York City, New York, a trip to the Statue of Liberty is something you have to see. Keep in mind that she is 22 stories tall so to reach the top you are climbing 354 steps. Therefore, if you are not in good physical condition, reaching the top would be impossible but you can still marvel at her from the base or take the elevator to the top of the pedestal. Not only is the very sight of the statue incredible, and not only is this statue interesting and fun to go inside of, but what she stands for is what makes her so special. With her windows representing the seven seas, the toga representing the Ancient Republic of Rome, the torch representing enlightenment, and the chains representing Liberty crushing out the chains of slavery, she is symbolic of what America is – Freedom, Liberty, and Justice for All.

Last Updated: 10/19/2006 3:14:00 PM

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