2. Pedestal of the Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

One of the most iconic monuments in New York City, the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France. But while Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi designed the exterior and Gustave Eiffel worked on the interior engineering, they didn’t include a pedestal as part of the gift. In fact, New Yorkers were slow to warm up to the Statue of Liberty and it took an intense fundraising campaign to raise the money for the statue’s pedestal.

As shown on HBO’s The Gilded Age, from 1876 until 1882, the statue’s hand and torch were displayed in Madison Square Park as part of the fundraising effort. However, it wasn’t until Joseph Pulitzer declared he would print the names of every contributor to the fundraising drive in his newspapers that funding was secured. Pulitzer managed to raise $102,000 (equivalent to roughly $2.3 million today) despite the fact that 80% of donations were less than $1.

With funding finally secured, Richard Morris Hunt was hired to design the monumental statue’s pedestal. It was built within the walls of Fort Wood on Bedloe’s Island. In 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty mounted on its pedestal on Bedloe’s Island, which was renamed Liberty Island in 1956. Inspired by classical architecture, Hunt designed the pedestal, which is roughly half the height of the entire monument, to complement the statue rather than overwhelm it.