Statue de la Liberté

Fun little fact of the day: the Statue of Liberty was a gift to the US from France. What about that! As if to illustrate even further the connection France and the US share, one of the most iconic landmarks in the States was a present from their friends ‘across the pond’.

The statues official name is actually “Liberty Enlightening the World”, which seemed fitting in reflecting the French support the US received in their revolution against the British. It was originally intended to be a centennial anniversary gift of the States independence but after many problems, mainly funding, it was completed ten years after that deadline.

In 1875, sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was asked to design the sculpture. The French had agreed to build the sculpture, transport it and build it on the other side; the US just had to build the pedestal. That in itself proved to be a problem because of funding.

They threw benefits galore and auctions but still there wasn’t enough money. It was only when Joseph Pulitzer, owner of the newspaper ‘The World’, wrote an article condemning the American public for not doing their part. He said the rich weren’t offering any financial help for the pedestal and the middle class were relying on the rich to do so.

France was struggling as well financially but many people believed in the dream of the Statue of Liberty. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was one of those people and he played a big role in design of the statue; creating the massive iron pylon and secondary skeletal framework (which to you and me means he created the framework underneath the copper skin in a way that let it stand independently).

I always find construction of landmarks like these astounding when I think of how far forward technologically we are now in such a short space of time. It amazes me that they shipped 350 individual pieces of the statue in 214 crates across the Atlantic and that it was constructed in only 4 months.

It really is a magnificent cultural landmark that definitely competes with the beautiful Eiffel tower any day. I think I might even have to call it a draw!

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