The History Behind the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty, officially Liberty Enlightening the World, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and completed in July 1884. Working with dreams of the famous figure over a decade before its completion, Bartholdi produced a number of miniaturized working models. Once the design was finalized, wooden molds were made, over which copper sheets were attached and hammered into shape. The copper shell was then joined to an internal iron structure designed by Gustave Eiffel, who later built the Eiffel Tower. The statue commemorates the alliance between the United States and France during the American Revolution from 1775 to 1783, and was funded completely through the donation of the French people. On the 4th of July, 1884, The 151 feet (46 meters) tall 225 ton Statue of Liberty was delivered to the American Ambassador in Paris. People were awed as the colossal 15-story lady towered over the four and five-story buildings surrounding her. In order to bring it to New York Harbor, The Statue of Liberty was dismantled into 300 pieces and packed into 214 wooden crates. The pieces of her torch-bearing arm alone, which had been displayed previously in Philadelphia for the 1876 centennial- filled 21 boxes.
When the Statue of Liberty was finally ready to be shipped to the United States, problems across the Atlantic emerged. The pedestal on which she would be placed was no where near complete. At last on June 17, 1886, she arrived in New York Harbor, and was officially installed on a massive monument designed by Richard Morris Hunt, and built with funds raised by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. Located on Bedloe's Island, renamed Liberty Island in 1956 by an act of Congress, the concrete and granite pedestal was surrounded by a star-shaped wall, which was part of Fort Wood, built in the early 19th century to defend New York during the War of 1812. In October of 1886, President Grover Cleveland delivered a dedication address at Liberty's dedication ceremony, during which she was finally unveiled to the American people. To complete today's image of our beautiful lady, the sonnet "The New Colossus" by American poet Emma Lazarus was inscribed in bronze at the base of the statue in 1903.
The Statue of Liberty was declared a national monument in 1924. In order to prepare for the statue's centennial year in 1986, a French-American rehabilitation project repaired and cleaned the statue, replacing the glass-and metal torch with one covered in gold leaf. Ferries from Battery Park in New York City now take visitors to Liberty Island. They can take an elevator or climb 192 steps to an observation deck at the top of the pedestal. A museum located inside the pedestal gives full detail of the history of the monument and features the original torch and flame. The full climb of 354 steps take the most ambitious visitors from the pedestal to the crown, offering breathtaking views of New York Harbor and New York City. The complete Statue of Liberty national monument also includes Ellis Island, and both Liberty Island and Ellis Island lie in Upper New York Bay.