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The Statue of Liberty

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The Statue of Liberty celebrated her 100th birthday on October 28, 1986. The people of France gave the statue to the people of the United States. The gift was given in honor of friendship. France established a friendship with the U.S. during the American Revolution. 

The statue became a joint effort between the two countries. It was agreed upon that the American people would build the pedestal. The French people were responsible for the statue and its assembly in the U.S. The goal was to have it completed by 1876, in honor of the centennial of the Declaration of Independence.

The statue has many symbolic features within it. There are twenty-five windows in the crown. They represent gemstones found on the earth and the heaven’s rays shining over the world. The seven rays of the statue’s crown represent the seven seas and seven continents of the world. 

The tablet which the statue holds in her left hand reads (in Roman numerals) “July 4th, 1776,” the date of American independence. Wrapped around the statue’s feet is a broken chain. She has broken the chain of oppression and is free to move into the world. Her torch shines to enlighten the world.

The statue was completed in France in July 1884. It arrived in New York Harbor in June of 1885. In transit, the statue was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates. The granite pedestal, built inside the star-shaped walls of Fort Wood, was completed in 1886. Once the pedestal was complete, it took four months to reassemble the statue. 

The statue is a well-built structure. The copper used in creating the statue weighs 62,000 pounds. The total weight of steel in it is 250,000 pounds. The concrete foundation weighs 54 million pounds. The copper sheeting of the statue is 3/32 of an inch thick, which is the thickness of two pennies put together. Winds of 50 miles per hour cause it to sway three inches and the torch to sway five inches. 

Annually, over five million people visit the statue and the area on which it stands, Liberty Island. The tragedy of September 11, 2001, resulted in the closure of Liberty Island for 100 days. The statue remained closed until August 3, 2004. 

Visitors with tickets presently have access to the statue’s pedestal observation deck, promenade, crown, museum, and areas of Fort Wood. Access to the torch has not been permitted since 1916.

© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners

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