The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on 28 Oct. 1886. It was a gift, through donations, from the people of France to the U.S. The base is a former Army Fort in the shape of an 11 pointed star. The pedestal that the statue sits on was funded by donations in the U.S. A great portion of those donations were less than a dollar each. The statue was designed by sculptor Frederic Bartholdi. The iron framework was designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel & a partner. Eiffel also designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Statue of Liberty is on the former Bedloe’s Island which was renamed Liberty Island in 1956. In her right hand is a torch and the left hand holds a tablet with the date of our Independence; 4 July 1776. At her feet is a broken chain which is only visible from above. The outer skin is made from sheets of copper which over the years have turned green from oxidation.
Liberty has been updated and repaired many times with major restorations in 1938 and 1984-1986. She will be closed for about a year starting tomorrow, 29 Oct., for installation of new elevators and stairs. The Island will remain open to the public but ever since 11 Sept. 2001 there has been increased security. Visitors to the island must go through security screening similar to those done at airports.
Lady Liberty has long been associated with the immigrants coming to the Port of New York. They viewed her as a welcome to the Freedom in America. Emma Lazurus wrote a sonnet which in 1903 was inscribed on a brass plaque that now resides in the museum in the base. The last few lines of the sonnet sum up the welcome the Lady gives to immigrants to America:
“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.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
For more detailed information on the Lady visit the Statue of Liberty page on Wikipedia.
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Update (1:00 p.m.)
Want to see live views of and from Lady Liberty? Visit this Statue of Liberty Cam page.