Probably the best birthday gift ever received in the history of mankind is the Statue of Liberty. Designed by the French and shipped to the United States as a token of friendship between the two nations, this magnificent structure has been through a lot! There are so many things that people don't know about. Like why the Statue of Liberty is green or how tall it is. Well, in this article, we will throw light on some such facts about the Statue of Liberty.
Statue of Liberty: History
- Beginning with history, the idea to build it struck its sculptor, Frédéric Bartholdi, during a casual dinner conversation, around mid-1865, with Éduard Rene de Laboulaye, a politician and professor by profession.
- The idea was to build a symbol of liberty, which honored the American War of Independence and gift it to them on the birthday of their nation.
- It took more than twenty years to build the complete structure, which was structurally engineered by Gustave Eiffel, who would later go on to design the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
- The entire structure was built, dismantled, and shipped from France, to the United States, in 214 wooden crates.
- The total number of pieces was 350.
- The ship that transported the pieces was the 'Isere'.
- Funds to build the statue were raised in France, while the funds for the pedestal on which she stands, was asked to be raised by the Americans.
- The pedestal was designed by Richard Morris Hunt.
- The official date when Lady Liberty was accepted by the then President, Grover Cleveland, was 28th October, 1886.
- Initially, the Statue of Liberty was called 'Liberty Enlightening the World'.
Statue of Liberty: Structure
- The statue is made of copper sheets that are supported by a steel framework.
- As rough drafts, there are two more statues of the same kind, much smaller though. One in the Jardin de Luxembourg, and the other in the Allée des Cygnes, in Paris.
- The 300 copper sheets that have gone into making the statue are thinner than two penny coins put together.
- The total weight of the Statue of Liberty is 225 tons or 450,000 pounds
- The height of the statue, from the base of the pedestal to the torch is 305 feet and 6 inches.
- The height from her heel to the top of her head, is 111 feet and 6 inches.
- Initially made of copper, when the restoration of the statue was completed in 1986, the torch was covered with 24k gold sheets.
- The waist of the statue measures 35 feet.
- The face of the statue is over 8 feet in height.
- The tablet that she holds in her left hand, is 23 feet and 7 inches tall, and 13 feet and 7 inches wide.
- One of the fun facts about the Statue of Liberty, is that Lady Liberty's shoe size is a whopping 25 feet.
- The tablet has the American Independence Day inscribed on it in Roman script: July IV MDCCLXXVI.
- The foundation of the statue was very strategically placed inside Fort Wood, with the 11-point star fortification, so that it appears to be greeting all the visitors of America, as they cross the Hudson river.
- The crown of the statue has seven points, which represent the seven continents of the world.
- Under the feet of the statue, lie shackles, which symbolize tyranny and oppression.
- The statue bears an inscription, which is a poem by Emma Lazarus. An excerpt from it, is as follows,
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,
lift my lamp beside the golden door!
- The total number of steps from the pedestal to the crown of the statue, is 354.
- There are 25 windows in the crown.
Statue of Liberty: Tourism
- If visitors take the elevator to the pedestal, they cannot climb to the crown.
- The statue also houses a museum and an observatory in its pedestal.
- The color of the original statue was copper-brown. But it now looks green because of oxidation that has taken place over the years.
- After 9/11, the statue was closed to visitors till August 3, 2004, for security reasons.
- The crown was reopened for those who are fit and willing to climb up the steps to it, on July 4, 2009.
- There are two security checks for visitors: one at the pedestal entrance and one at the entrance to the statue.
- The sole of the statue's right foot has an alternate entrance.
- You can avail of a round-trip ferry ride, that will take you to the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island and also to Ellis Island.
That was the round-up of some facts about this great monument. I'm sure you'll have a whole new perception about it when you plan to visit it next. Have fun!