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Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty, formerly known as, "Liberty Enlightening the World" is a giant copper sculpture located in the Upper Bay of New York Harbor (U. S. A.). It was a gift to the U. S. from the French commemorating the friendship between the two countries. Liberty, a woman holding a torch in one hand and a tablet in the other, stands 92 meters (302 feet) high (including the pedestal). The tablet bears the date, July 4, 1776, the date of the Declaration of Independence.

The proposal for Liberty’s design was made after the American Civil War and construction began in France in 1875 under sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. Using copper sheets, the statue was hammered into shape by hand. Its assembly was completed over a giant steel framework designed by Eugéne-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel (Eiffel Tower designer). At its completion it weighed 225 tons. The 151 foot 1 inch high statue was disassembled and shipped to New York City in 1885.

The pedestal for the gigantic Liberty was completed later by Richard Morris Hunt in the Bedloe’s Island army post, Ft. Wood. On October 28, 1886, President Cleveland dedicated the completed statue, mounted on her pedestal. First administrated by the Lighthouse Board because of its aid to navigation, the statue later operated under the U. S. War Department. Declared a national monument in 1924, the rest of the island was incorporated into the monument after Ft. Wood’s deactivation. In 1956, Bedloe’s Island was renamed Liberty Island. Nearby Elise Island, once the country’s major immigration center, was incorporated into the monument in 1965. Major restoration of the statue was done by American and French workers for its centennial celebration in 1986.

Today, an elevator rises to the balcony level. A spiral staircase leads up to the crown. The base of the statue holds The American Museum of Immigration (1972). One can still read "The New Colossus" (1883), a poem written by Emma Lazarus, inscribed on a plaque at the pedestal’s entrance. The poem, written to raise money for the statue’s pedestal holds the immortal words: "...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!"

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Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

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