The Statue of Liberty may be one of the most visited sites in New York City (if you’re willing to battle with the tourists), but it too has a long list of secrets and fun facts. Here we explore the history and architectural details that make the Statue of Liberty still one of the most unique landmarks in the city.
Designed as a gift to the United States, the Statue of Liberty (officially called Liberty Enlightening the World) has always maintained a connection to its native France. It was dreamt up by Edouard Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye, a French abolitionist, lawyer, and poet. Its exterior was designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the French sculptor, its interior created by Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer. It was built in France and paid for by its citizens.
Construction of the pedestal in New York. Image via echomon.co.uk.
Though wildly beloved today, the Statue of Liberty faced an uphill climb in regards to its financing, here in America, particularly after the Panic of 1873. There was also some criticism of the statue itself, designed by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, with assistance from Gustav Eiffel who provided the engineering. There was grumbling that France should have also provided the base for the sculpture. It wasn’t until Joseph Pulitzer stepped in, announcing a fundraising drive. He promised to print the name of every contributor on his newspapers and even printed the notes he received from them. Although 80% of donations were less than $1, Pulitzer raised $102,000, equivalent to over $2.3 million today.
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