CNN Editorial Research
Here’s a look at the Statue of Liberty.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from the people of France to commemorate 100 years of Franco-American friendship. The statue also commemorates the centennial of America’s independence.
The statue is formally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World.”
It was sculpted by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. The framework was designed by French engineer Gustave Eiffel.
There are 354 steps to the crown.
There are 25 windows in the crown.
The seven rays of the statue’s crown represent the seven seas and continents of the world.
The tablet held in the left hand of the statue reads in Roman numerals “July 4th, 1776.” (JULY IV MDCCLXXVI)
The total weight of copper in the statue is 62,000 pounds (31 tons) and the total weight of steel in the statue is 250,000 pounds (125 tons). Total weight of the statue’s concrete foundation is 54 million pounds (27,000 tons).
Height from ground to tip of torch — 305 feet, one inch (92.99m)
Approximately 3.5 million people visit the Statue of Liberty every year.
Visitors undergo airport-style security screenings prior to boarding the ferry. A secondary screening is required for visitors entering the monument.
The waters around Liberty and Ellis Island are a restricted water zone.
US Park Police provide security for visitor ferries to Liberty Island.
1865 – French historian and professor Edouard de Laboulaye proposes the idea of presenting the United States with a monument to commemorate the young country’s upcoming centennial.
Early 1870s – Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi travels to the United States to drum up support for the project.
November 1875 – The Franco-American Union forms to raise funds and carry out the project. It is decided that France will build the statue and the United States will build the pedestal upon which the statue will stand.
1875-1882 – French citizens are enthusiastic about the project and raise approximately $250,000 through fundraisers and lotteries. The French government does not contribute to the building of the statue.
1876 – The completed torch and the right forearm of the statue are displayed in Philadelphia and New York to encourage donations.
1883-1885 – Publisher Joseph Pulitzer champions the project in the pages of his New York World newspaper and Americans grow enthusiastic about the statue.
1883 – Poet Emma Lazarus writes the sonnet, “The New Colossus” to raise money for the pedestal. It ends with lines added to the base of the statue in 1903: “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!” It becomes a symbol of welcome for immigrants.
July 1884 – The statue is completed in France.
June 1885 – The statue arrives in New York Harbor aboard the French ship “Isere.”
April 1886 – The pedestal is completed.
October 28, 1886 – President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty.
October 15, 1924 – The statue is designated a national monument.
1933 – The National Park Service head the administration of the statue.
1984 – The United Nations designates the Statue of Liberty a World Heritage Site.
July 4, 1986 – The Statue of Liberty celebrates its centennial.
September 11, 2001 – Liberty Island is completely closed to the public after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
December 2001 – Liberty Island reopens after 100 days, but the statue remains closed.
September 2003 – The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Inc. begins a fundraising drive with the goal of raising $5 million dollars to build additional exits and upgrade fire and emergency systems.
August 3, 2004 – The base of the statue reopens to the public after $20 million worth of safety measures are implemented.
September 18, 2007 – Park officials announce that the crown will remain closed to visitors indefinitely, due to fire safety and terrorism issues.
July 4, 2009 – The crown of the Statue of Liberty is reopened to visitors.
October 28, 2011 – The Statue of Liberty celebrates its 125th anniversary.
October 29, 2011 – The Statue of Liberty closes for millions of dollars in renovations.
October 28, 2012 – On the 126th anniversary of the statue’s dedication, the Statue of Liberty reopens.
October 29, 2012 – The Statue of Liberty closes due to Hurricane Sandy.
November 21, 2012 – The National Park Service announces that due to significant damage sustained from Hurricane Sandy, the Statue of Liberty will remain closed. It is scheduled to reopen on July 4th.
July 4, 2013 – The statue officially reopens with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
October 13, 2013 – After being closed for 12 days as a result of the partial government shutdown, the Statue of Liberty reopens due to state funding.
July 4, 2018 – A woman climbs up to the robes of the Statue of Liberty to protest the separation of migrant families. The standoff lasts nearly three hours before authorities talk the woman down.
May 16, 2019 – The Statue of Liberty Museum opens to the public. The museum is managed by the National Park Service.
March 16, 2020 – The National Park Service temporarily suspends operations at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
July 14, 2021 – A second Statue of Liberty, nicknamed the “little sister,” arrives at the US capitol as a gift from France to America. It first spent Independence Day on display at Ellis Island and will now stay in Washington, DC, for 10 years, on loan from France. The second statue is an exact replica of the original 1878 plaster model, but one-sixteenth the size.
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