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Statue of Liberty Facts & History

Statue of Liberty
Visiting the Statue of Liberty is a must for any New York City visitor.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. Learn more about one of NYC's top tourist attractions!

Statue of Liberty Facts and History
  • Official dedication ceremonies for the Statue of Liberty were held on Thursday, October 28, 1886. President Grover Cleveland accepted the Statue on behalf of the United States.
  • The Statue of Liberty was designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.
  • The Statue of Liberty measures 305 feet 1 inch from the ground to the tip of the flame, and is as tall as a 22-story building. In 1886, it was the tallest structure in New York City.
  • Winds of 50 miles per hour cause the Statue to sway up to 3 inches and the torch up to 6 inches.
  • The seven rays of the Statue's crown represent the seven seas and continents of the world, each measuring up to 9 feet in length and weighing as much as 150 pounds.
  • There are 25 windows in the crown, which symbolize gemstones and the heaven's rays shining over the world.
  • The Statue's original torch was the first part constructed in 1876. In 1984 it was replaced by a new copper torch covered in thin sheets of 24 karat gold leaf. Sunlight reflects off the gold during the day and 16 floodlights light the torch by reflection at night. The original torch is currently located in the lobby of the monument. Access to the torch has been closed since 1916.
  • Total weight of the Statue of Liberty is 225 tons (or 450,000 pounds).
  • There are 154 steps from the pedestal to the head of the Statue of Liberty.
  • A tablet held in her left hand measures 23 feet, 7 inches tall and 13 feet 7 inches wide. It is inscribed with the date of American Independence written in Roman numerals - JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776).
  • The Statue has a 35-foot waistline. 
  • Chains and a broken shackle lie at the Statue's feet, which symbolize the Statue as a woman free from oppression and servitude.
  • The total weight of the Statue's concrete foundation is 54 million pounds (27,000 tons).
  • The statue is covered in 300 sheets of copper, 3/32 of an inch thick (less than the thickness of two pennies), hammered into different shapes and riveted together. The light green color (called a patina) is the result of natural weathering of the copper.
  • The French ship "Isere" transported the Statue of Liberty's 300 copper pieces packed in 214 crates to America. Although the ship nearly sank in rough seas, it arrived in New York on June 17, 1885. The Statue's parts remained unassembled for nearly a year until the pedestal was completed in 1886.

Statue of Liberty Measurements:
  • Height from base to torch: 151'1"
  • Pedestal foundation to tip of torch: 305'1"
  • Heel to top of head: 111'1"
  • Length of hand: 16'5"
  • Index finger: 8'
  • Head from chin to cranium: 17'3"
  • Width of head: 10'
  • Distance across the eyes: 2'6"
  • Length of nose: 4'6"
  • Length of right arm: 42'
  • Width of right arm: 12'
  • Length of sandal: 25’ (U.S. women's shoe size: 879)
  • Width of waist: 35'
  • Width of mouth: 3’
  • Length of tablet: 23'7"
  • Width of tablet: 13'7"
  • Thickness of tablet: 2’
  • Ground to top of pedestal: 154’

Statue of Liberty History
"La Liberté Éclairant le Monde" or "Liberty Enlightening the World" is the official name given to the Statue the Liberty by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and is a symbol of freedom to the entire world. In recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution, French statesman and writer Edouard de Laboulaye proposed presenting a monument to America as a gift from the people of France. The statue was a joint effort between the two countries - Americans would build the pedestal and the French would build the statue - in honor of the centennial of the Declaration of Independence.

Bartholdi was commissioned to design the sculpture, which he modeled after his mother, Charlotte. Gustave Eiffel, who would later design the Eiffel Tower, designed Lady Liberty’s skeleton - four huge iron columns that support a metal framework holding the thin copper skin. Bartholdi chose copper because it was attractive, yet durable enough to withstand the long voyage, and virtually impervious to the salt-laden air of the New York Harbor. Bartholdi began by creating the statue’s right arm and torch, which were exhibited at Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition in 1876. In 1877, the 42-foot-high sculpture was placed in Madison Square Park at Madison Avenue and 23rd Street to raise funds for the construction of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. The arm and torch remained in the park for seven years.
In France, the completed head and shoulders of the statue were publicly displayed to encourage donations. Various forms of entertainment and lotteries were among the many methods used to raise money. In the United States, in addition to the right arm and torch being displayed to inspire generosity, the American Committee for the statue solicited contributions, and used art and theater benefits, auctions, and prize fights to help fund the project. But it was the efforts of politician and newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer (of the Pulitzer Prize) that generated the most money; Pulitzer used his newspaper, “The World,” to criticize the wealthy, who had not stepped up to the plate to assist in financing the pedestal construction, as well as the middle class, who relied upon the wealthy. His tactic worked and Americans were moved to donate more than $100,000. The financing of the pedestal was completed in August 1885 and construction was finished in April 1886.

Meanwhile, the Statue was completed in France in July 1884 and arrived in New York in June of 1885 in over 300 pieces, packed in 214 crates. The re-assembly took four months and the Statue was placed upon a granite pedestal on Bedloe’s Island, renamed Liberty Island in 1956. On October 28th, 1886, a decade after the centennial, President Grover Cleveland unveiled and dedicated the Statue of Liberty to thousands of spectators. In 1903, Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” - "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…"
was inscribed on a bronze tablet laid in the statue’s pedestal.

Location and Directions to the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty Ferry departs from Battery Park on the southern tip of Lower Manhattan.

  • 1 to South Ferry
  • 4, 5 to Bowling Green
  • R to Whitehall Street
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