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20 Mind-Blowing Facts About the Statue of Liberty

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Jeanh, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. [​IMG]On June 17, 1885, 200,000 people lined the docks of lower Manhattan to watch the French steamer Isére carry the Statue of Liberty into New York harbor. One hundred and thirty years later, join us in celebrating the coming of a national icon with this colossal roundup of trivia.

    Edward Moran

    1. The “Statue of Liberty” is flattered that you recognize her face, but wishes you’d get her name right. According to designer Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the sculpture’s true title is “Liberty Enlightening the World.”

    2. She has a face a mother could love—specifically, Bartholdi’s mother, Charlotte, who is rumored to be the model for Liberty’s massive copper visage. (Not to be neglected, Bartholdi’s wife posed for the arms and torso.)


    3. Like many other first-time New Yorkers, Liberty was a mess when she got here. She arrived from France in 350 pieces, packed into 214 crates aboard an ocean liner.

    4. She was a trendsetter on day one. Before her dedication ceremony on October 28, 1886, Lady Liberty was inaugurated with a massive parade through Manhattan. As it passed by the Stock Exchange, jubilant day traders rained down torn up ticker tape from the upper windows. Thus began a New York tradition: the ticker tape parade.

    5. She was a beacon of feminism. When women were banned from attending the dedication on Bedloe’s Island that evening, suffragists chartered a boat and held their own ceremony in the nearby harbor, loudly proclaiming the hypocrisy of men “erecting a Statue of Liberty embodied as a woman in a land where no woman has political liberty.”

    6. And, of course, she was a tourist trap. As many as 1 million people attended the inaugural celebration, where souvenir boys sold doctored photographs of the statue, badges and medals, miniature bronze reproductions, and specialty sandwiches that “tasted as though they had been made from slices of the pedestal,” the New York Times Please or Register to view links.

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    7. Though the waters surrounding her are technically part of New Jersey, Lady Liberty is the official property of Manhattan, and a proud New York taxpayer (at least, her gift shops are.)

    8. She’s been in the neighborhood so long, they renamed it after her. The island where she stands was called Bedloe’s Island (after an early Dutch settler) until 1956, when it was renamed Liberty Island by an act of Congress.

    9. Besides its famous gargantuan tenant, Liberty/Bedloe’s island has also housed: oyster beds, a smallpox quarantine station, a Scottish Earl’s summer estate, a recruitment center, and now a National Park and museum.

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    10. Despite easy access to Manhattan shopping, the Lady is a picky dresser. She wears a size 879 shoe and has a 35-foot waistline.

    11. She weighs 204 metric tons, but don’t call her fat. The Lady’s copper skin is extremely thin—barely 1/16th of an inch thick, to be exact.

    12. Green is not her natural hair (or skin) color. At first Liberty was a dull, copper brown—however, as copper oxidizes over time, it develops a patina (or “healthy green glow”) to protect from further deterioration. By 1906, she was green head to toe.


    13. There are 7 rays on the Lady’s crown, one for each of the world’s seven continents. Together, they give her a hat that weighs more than 1,000 pounds.

    14. Luckily, she gets a stretch in now and then. In winds of 50 mph or more, the statue can sway up to three inches, and the torch arm up to six.

    15. She may appear solemn, but Lady Liberty knows how to celebrate. In 1944, the lights in her crown flashed “dot-dot-dot-dash,” indicating a Morse code V, for Victory in Europe.

    16. She’s made a lot of friends, too. From 1892 to 1943, Lady Liberty greeted more than 12 million immigrants arriving by boat to Ellis Island.


    17. The Lady stands on a pedestal, and the pedestal stands on a disused granite fort in the shape of an 11-pointed star. Fort Wood, completed in 1811, once held 77 mounted guns and a garrison of 350 U.S. Army troops to protect New York harbor. (Today it holds a museum.)

    18. Freedom isn’t free, and liberty ain’t cheap either: The cost of building the statue and pedestal amounted to more than $500,000—or more than $10 million in today’s money.

    19. Liberty’s French benefactors bankrolled the statue, but left it to America to build and fund the pedestal. When early New York fundraisers failed, Boston and Philadelphia offered to pay the full cost… in return for relocating the statue. (They didn’t.)

    20. Finally, her half-sister is as famous as she is. Liberty’s inner framework was engineered by Gustave Eiffel in 1880. He used the same design to construct Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower seven years later
    lablab likes this.