Building Name – Statue of Liberty
Location – Liberty Island, New York City, New York
Architect – Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
Structure – Gustave Eiffel
Pedestal Design – Richard Morris Hunt
Dedicated – October 28,1886
Building Type – Monumental Statue and Observation Tower
Architecture Style – Neoclassical
- The Statue of Liberty is well known around the world as an icon of freedom and opportunity in America.
- The sculpture was to be a gift from the French to the Americans in recognition of their friendship – which was established during the American Revolution.
- At the time, the design and construction of the Statue was hailed as a bridge between art and engineering.
- The Statue Of Liberty is a robed female figure which represents the Roman goddess of freedom Libertas.
- She holds a torch and a legal tablet inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
- At her feet lies a broken chain.
- The statue stands on a stone pedestal, designed by American architect Richard Morris Hunt.
- The Statue was placed on Liberty Island as it would be visible to every ship which was passing into the New York Harbour.
- Total overall height from the base of the pedestal foundation to the tip of the torch is 305 feet, 6 inches.
- Height of the Statue from her heel to the top of her head is 111 feet, 6 inches.
- The Statue has a 35-foot waistline.
- Total weight of the Statue of Liberty is 225 tons (or 450,000 pounds).
- Lady Liberty has seven rays on her crown which represents each of the seven continents. Each ray measures up to nine feet and weighs 68kg.
- Lady Liberty has 25 grooves on her crown which represents 25 gems of the world.
- The face on the Statue of Liberty measures more than 8 feet tall.
- A tablet held in her left hand measures 23′ 7″ tall and 13′ 7″ wide inscribed with the date JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776).
- The broken chain which lies at the feet of the Statue and her heel which is raised as in walking away from the shackle – a clear symbol of freedom and independence.
- There are 154 steps from the pedestal to the head of the Statue of Liberty.
- The architect who designed The Statue Of Liberty was named Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and he worked in collaboration with the French architect Alexandre Gustave Eiffel who was responsible for designing the skeletal framework of the Statue.
- The exterior envelope was composed of light-weight copper sheets which were hammered into the Statue’s wooden framework, these plaques were then soldered and riveted together.
- It is a hollow construction of thinly pounded copper sheets (2.4 mm thick) laid over a steel framework.
- It weighs a total of 450,000 pounds (204 tonnes), including 27 tonnes of copper and 113 tonnes of steel.
- The statue rests upon a masonry pedestal.
- The figure of Libertas is 151 feet (46 m) tall, while the entire structure – from the base of the pedestal to the tip of the torch is 305 feet (93 m) in height. The statue’s index finger is 8 feet long and its nose 4.5 feet. The pedestal is 89 feet (27 m) tall.
The Lady’s skeleton is made from about 250,000 lbs of puddled iron.
- It’s spine is a pylon containing a double-helix stairwell.
- Four legs support the pylon, each connected by nine levels of horizontal struts and diagonal cross braces.
- There is also a secondary frame, or armature, that conforms to the outer contour of the statue.
- The armature consists of about a mile’s worth of puddled-iron bars, more than 1300 of them, 2″ wide by 5/8″ thick and weighing about 20 lbs each.
- Some 80 tons of copper sheet, originally about a quarter-inch thick, were cut into 300 odd pieces and then hand hammered – a process called repoussé. The hammering reduced them to about 3/32nds of an inch thick.
- Now, here’s where the neat part comes in. The copper skin sections are attached to the armature by 1500 U-shaped copper saddles, using some 300,000 copper rivets.
- Now, Eiffel knew about Galvanic corrosion between the dissimilar metals – copper and steel. Ultimately, it was the Americans who came up with the barrier system finally used when the stature was reassembled.
- They isolated the junction of the copper and iron with a layer of shellac-impregnated asbestos cloth.
- The saddle design was ingenious. Copper and Iron expand and contract at different rates. So, the free movement of the separate metals allowed them to accommodate the changes in temperature as well as other weather conditions.
- The copper exterior was chosen due to the requirements of getting the Statue from France to America, these included being light but also strong enough to withstand the stress of the long ocean voyage and also to be impervious to the salt-laden air of the New York Harbour.
- The arm holding the torch was created first and was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, 1876 and then in Madison Square Park, New York from 1876 to 1882.
- The head and shoulders were completed next and they were displayed at the 1878 Paris Universal Exposition.
- Although the construction of the entire Statue was completed in France in July, 1884, the Americans were to provide the site and build the granite pedestal which was not completed until April, 1886.
- With the entire weight of the Statue reaching over 204,000kg, the structure had to be reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed into 214 crates before being re-assembled in New York four months later.
- Once the Statue was erected in New York, the acting President Grover Cleveland ordered that the Statue be used as a lighthouse; the torch which stands in the right hand of the figure continued to emit light which could be seen from a distance of 24 miles away for sixteen years until 1902.
- The Statue of Liberty has been renovated several times since it was erected and in 1986, the lighthouse fresnel lens was removed and the torch was covered with thin sheets of 24k gold.
- The original torch was created using 250 coloured reflected lenses and is now an exhibit in the Ellis Island Museum which sits at the lobby of the pedestal.
- Bartholdi made his first design of the statue in 1870.
- Due to the uncertain political climate – construction didn’t begin on the statue until the early 1870s.
- In 1875, with interest mounting in the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Laboulaye launched the project by naming the statue (“Liberty Enlightening the World”) and announcing the formation of its fundraising body, the Franco-American Union.
- The French would finance the statue while the Americans would pay for the pedestal.
- In order to raise public support for the venture, Bartholdi fabricated the statue’s right arm and head, at the Gaget Gauthier & Co. workshop in Paris. These were exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and the 1878 World Fair in Paris, although raising funds proved to be more difficult.
- By 1884 the statue was finished, as were the foundations for the pedestal, but the American Committee for the Statue of Liberty then ran out of funds to build the pedestal.
- The situation was saved in early 1885 by Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World newspaper, who started a drive for public contributions that raised over $100,000 in six months – more than enough to complete the project.
- After prefabrication in Paris, the statue was duly shipped in 241 crates to the United States and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then known as Bedloe’s Island.
- The completion of the statue was celebrated by New York’s first-ever ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony overseen by US President Grover Cleveland in October 1886. Maintained since 1933 by the US National Park Service, the statue underwent major repairs and renovation from 1984 to 1986, and from 2011 to 2012.