On June 17th 1885 the Statue of Liberty arrived from France in New York Harbor aboard the steamship, the Isère. Today’s Google doodle celebrates this momentous event, which 200,000 people came to see. Split into pieces and packed into crates, the Statue of Liberty actually arrived without it signature arm and torch–it came earlier and was displayed in Madison Square Park from 1876 to 1882 as a fundraising effort for the pedestal of the statue.
Statue of Liberty’s Torch in Madison Square. Image via The Visual Blog.
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.
Image via ajklijs on wordpress.com.
The pedestal was finished in 1886 and the sculpture was reassembled on Liberty Island, then Bedloe’s Island. Although the lights were initially intended to be attached to the balcony of the torch, the Army Corps of Engineers vetoed the idea–so Bartholdi cut holes in it to install the lights.
Next, discover the many replicas of the Statue of Liberty in NYC and Paris. There has been a lot of debate as to who the face of the Statue of Liberty was modeled after, find out the latest theory.