She used to be copper color, but now she's green. Probably because she's got the Hudson River and the East River flowing around her. If you're a young strong person, you can climb the 354 steps to the crown where you have 0.03 seconds to look out the windows before you get pushed over to the down-stairs. Once upon a time, you could even go up the arm to the torch. Due to the age and weakening of the arm, this is no longer available to the public.

The statue was originally built in France in 1875 by sculptor Auguste Bartholdi and structural engineer Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame). It was completed in 1884 and presented to America by the people of France on July 4, 1884. It was disassembled and shipped to the United States the next year.

The height of the statue is 151' 1" (46.5m) from base to torch. From the foundation of the pedestal to the torch, it is 305' 1" (92.99m). On her plaque, is written (in Roman Numerals, July 4, 1776, the day of independence from Britian).

While most New Yorkers have seen the statue, most have never actually been there. It seems that the majority of people visiting the statue are tourists, and English is the minority. Much like the observation decks of the World Trade Center or Empire State Building, a New Yorker will only go if their out-of-town visitor asks them to go.

Emma Lazarus' sonnet "The New Colossus" is inscribed on the base of the statue. Lazarus was one of many people who worked to raise money for America's contribution to the project, a pedestal designed by American architect Robert Morris Hunt.

Designed by French architect Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, a neoclassical, realistic statue with an iron frame and copper cladding. It was designed with the year 1876 in mind, to commemorate the Centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The statue was a joint effort between America and France, although lack of funds slowed down its construction. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower) was commissioned to design the pylon skeletal framework of the Statue.

Following is the patent application by Frederic Bartholdi for the design of the Statue (USPTO).


Specification forming part of Design No. 11,023, dated February 18, 1879, application filed January 2, 1879.

[Term of patent 14 years.]

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I. Auguste Bartholdi, of Paris, in the Republic of France, have originated and produced a Design of a Monumental Statue, representing "Liberty enlightening the world," being intended as a commemorative monument of the independence of the United States; and I hereby declare the following to be a full, clear and exact description of the same, reference being had to the accompanying illustration, which I submit as part of this specification.

The statue is that of a female figure standing erect upon a pedestal or block, the body being thrown slightly over to the left, so as to gravitate upon the left leg, the whole figure being thus in equilibrium, and symmetrically arranged with respect to a perpendicular line or axis passing trough the head and left foot. The right leg, with its lower limb thrown back, is bent, resting upon the bent toe, thus giving grace to the general attitude of the figure. The body is clothed in the classical drapery, being a stola, or mantle gathered in upon the left shoulder, and thrown over the skirt or tunic or under-garment, which drops in voluminous folds upon the feet. The right arm is thrown up and stretched out, with a flamboyant torch grasped in the hand. The flame of the torch is thus held high up above the figure. The arm is nude; the drapery of the sleeve is dropping down upon the shoulder in voluminous folds. In the left arm, which is falling against the body, is held a tablet, upon which is inscribed "4th July, 1776." This tablet is made to rest against the side of the body, above the hip, and so as to occupy an inclined position with relation thereto exhibiting the inscription. The left hand clasps the tablet so as to bring the four fingers onto the face thereof. The head with its classical, yet severe and calm, features, is surmounted by a crown or diadem, from which radiate divergingly seven rays, tapering from the crown, and representing a halo. The feet are bare and sandal-strapped.

This design may be carried out in any manner known to the glyptic art in the form of a statue or statuette, or in alto-relievo or bass-relief, in metal, stone, terra-cotta, plaster-of-paris or other plastic composition. It may also be carried out pictorially in print from engravings on metal, wood, or stone, or by photographing or otherwise.

What I claim as my invention is--

The herein-described design of a statue representing Liberty enlightening the world, the same consisting, essentially, of the draped female figure, with one arm upraised, bearing a torch, while the other holds an inscribed tablet, and having upon the head a diadem substantially as set forth.

In testimony whereof I have signed this specification in the presence of two subscribing witnesses.

A. Bartholdi

C. Terinier,

Charles P. Stone supervised the construction of the pedestal that the Statue of Liberty stands upon.

This is notable because Stone was a General in the Union army during the U.S. Civil War. On October 21, 1861 General Stone ordered an attack at Ball's Bluff, Virginia. The attack failed badly. Stone was then carted off to jail (no charges were ever filed), where for 8 months he sat in a cell with a window that looked directly out upon Bedloe's Island - where the statue was later placed...

There are two interesting replicas of the Statue of Liberty in Paris, France.

The first one is small (a few meters high) but complete, on an island in the middle of river Seine, between the Eiffel Tower and pont Mirabeau. You can have both the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel tower on the same photograph, if you find the right place.

The second one is a replica of the flame only, in real size (two or three meters high), near pont de l'Alma. Just below that flame, in an underpass, Lady Diana and Dodi Al Fayed died in a car wreck on August 31, 1997, while paparazzis were chasing them. In the following months and years, you could always see people there, sticking love messages or flowers on the big flame. It was fascinating to see how the people changed the meaning of the monument: it had been erected in 1989 to celebrate the French-American friendship, but most people probably saw it now as a symbol of love. Eventually, the messages and photographs were removed and a barrier now keeps the tourists from approaching the flame. You can still see a few half-erased messages.

Some facts regarding the Statue of Liberty


Base to Torch = 151ft. 1 in
Foundation to Torch = 305 ft. 1 in.
Head to Foot = 111 ft. 1 in.


Inside Statue (Base to Torch) = 171 steps
Inside Pedastal = 167 steps


Weight of copper = 100 tons
Weight of steel = 125 tons


Initial cost to build the Statue = $400, 000
Intial cost of Pedastal = $270,000


The seven rays on the crown are symbolic of the 7 seas and the 7 continents
The broken shackles at the feet of the statue are symbolic of the freedom from oppression

The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World first stood on Bedloe's Island in 1886 as a gift from the people of France to the people of America.

A French historian named Eduardo de Laboulaye first suggested the idea for the people of France to provide the statue while the people of America provide the pedestal and the site. Accordingly, the statue and pedestal was built with donation and no tax money, and was placed on Bedloe's Island, owned by a Walloon named Isaac Bedloe. The island was later renamed to Liberty Island in 1956.

An inscription on the base of the statue says:
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
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-tossed, to me;
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
Millions who aspired to be free from Europe's "storied pomp" of governmental control, would reach to the land of the free. Later in 1924, the island became a government owned national park, coinciding with the year when immigration became greatly restricted with the Immigration Act.


Interestingly, Auguste Bertholdi's design for the statue of liberty was originally intended to compliment the completion of the Suez Canal. Drawings from the eighteen sixties that he had done, one entitled "Egypt Bringing Light to Asia", depict our familiar torch-bearer sans scripture overlooking Ferdinand de Lesseps' collosal middle-eastern earthwork. As Darcy Grigsby explains in a recent article for October journal entitled "Geometry / Labor = Volume / Mass?", the statue (interpretable as an egyptian peasant woman) was denied consumation by the leader Ismail Pasha.

Of course Bertholdi's work was very much enamored of monumentalism, and should have been quite at home with the pyramids, but it found its place as a symbolic keystone over the entrance to a not-so-New World that immigrants were always reinvigorating with mythologies. The funny thing is that Bertholdi couldn't build the damn thing, and had to enlist the help of engineering genius Gustave Eiffel to hold the shell of liberty together with a competent hidden framework. Perhaps because this project brought home the general ignorance of modern steel construction techniques, Eiffel was driven to design the Eiffel tower: a monument without the pretty folds.

The circle completes itself when Lesseps' atttempt at greater greatness, this time in Panama (then Columbia), showed visible signs of yielding little more than cute palindromes. Lesseps was forced to hire the more down-to-earth Eiffel, whose lock solutions would make the Panama Canal possible. The monies failed anyway (not least because of the stiff fee Eiffel was charging and then feeding back into his pet Tower). U.S. interests, as they are wont to do, manipulated some geopolitical angles to start a country more in tune with their program, took over the project and saw it through to completion.

And so an edifice of ideas, bourne from the middle-east as a statue that wasn't ours, caused much more beauty and also trouble to come into the world. The ghosts of these ideas live on today, the Promise of Liberty and the Geometry of Steel, as irreconcilable as ever, and we probably still think that both were ours to begin with.

“LIBERTY ENLIGHTENING THE WORLD” (Fr. “La Liberté allumant le monde”), STATUE OF, the largest anthropomorphized virtue in the United States, gifted by the people of France in return for their having supported the American side of the Revolutionary War. From the observation turret atop Fort Wood at the mouth of the Hudson River, the figure looms menacingly over New York Harbor as a warning to immigrants, tourists, and other nations.

Origins.— The diplomatic gifting of enormous hollow objects is first mentioned in Virgil’s epic poem Aeneid. With the conclusion of the American Civil War in 1865, Emperor Napoleon III of France saw therein an opportunity, both to commend the United States on its newly forestalled descent into civil disintegration, and to remove a potentially terminal impediment to his monarchial regime in Mexico. However, the sudden victory of Prussia over Austria in 1866 effectively ended France’s imperial hopes in the Americas until after the subsequent Franco-Prussian War.

Design and Symbolism.— The aesthetic design of the statue is the work of French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Strongly inspired by the classical depiction of the Roman goddess Libertas carrying a book, representing knowledge, and a torch, representing incineration, his work symbolizes the association of books with fire which is a philosophical cornerstone of modern democracy. The externally visible form of the statue is provided by a copper skin attached to a structural iron armature engineered by legendary French eyesore designer Gustave Eiffel.

Completion and Dedication.— Construction of the statue was completed and formally presented to the United States on July 4, 1884. It remained in storage in Paris while President Chester Arthur tried to find a place to put it where it wouldn’t get in the way. Having failed to do so, his New Jersey-born successor Grover Cleveland quietly located a suitable place a couple miles off what is now exit 14. The Statue of Liberty was formally dedicated on October 28, 1886, and has gone on to become the most obliterated icon in American cinema.

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