Happy Birthday Lady Liberty! She Turns 128 Today

Posted On Tue, October 28, 2014 By

Posted On Tue, October 28, 2014 By In Battery Park City, Features, Financial District, History

Every day Lady Liberty stands tall holding high her torch in celebration of our nation’s freedom. Since today is Miss Liberty’s 128th birthday, we thought it would only be appropriate to take some time out of our busy schedules to return the favor. Join us for a brief look back at some of Miss Liberty’s most notable moments throughout history. Happy birthday Lady Liberty, and here we go!

martin deutsch, statue of liberty birthday, statue of liberty skyImage via Martin Deutsch

The Statue of Liberty is a neoclassical sculpture and icon of the United States and freedom. This giant woman stands tall in the middle of the New York Harbor on Liberty Island in Manhattan as a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.

Miss Liberty was originally designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and the sculpture depicts a robed female figure standing tall representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty, holding strong a torch and a tabula ansata. Inscribed on the tabula is the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. The statue’s face was said to be modeled on the sculptor’s mother, Charlotte.

statue of liberty birthday, statue of liberty sky

A broken chain is laid across Miss Liberty’s feet and she stands with her right foot raised showing her moving away from slavery and oppression.

madison square statue of liberty, statue of liberty birthday, statue of liberty 1876

madison square statue of liberty, statue of liberty birthday, statue of liberty 1876

In 1876 Bartholdi began constructing Lady Liberty in France, and the hand and torch were built first.  Upon completion these two pieces were later sent to the U. S. where they were showcased at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and then later shipped to New York where they were put on display in Madison Square from 1876 to 1882.

statue of liberty construction, statue of liberty birthday, Gustav Eiffel

All the while construction for Miss Liberty’s additional parts continued in France, and in 1878 the statue’s head and shoulders were completed and displayed for first time at Paris Universal Exposition. In 1879, the statue’s engineer, Viollet-le-Duc, died and was replaced by the famous Alexander Gustav Eiffel. In 1880, Mr. Eiffel designed an innovative inner framework, measuring upwards to 98 feet and weighing in at 120 tons, to support the massive statue.

statue of liberty birthday, statue of liberty interior, gustave eiffel

In 1884, the statue was finished and formal ownership was passed to the United States. However, it wasn’t until 1886 that Miss Liberty was finally standing tall in her current home in the New York Harbor. It took builders an additional two years to complete the statue’s pedestal and properly construct the skeleton designed by Mr. Eiffel. Later that year on October 28th, Mr. Bartholdi lead a formal unveiling and dedication ceremony that was presided by President Grover Cleveland.

statue of liberty birthday, statue of liberty skyImage via Peter Barwick

What was the result of all this construction and planning? Well in short, a very large woman. From the ground to the very top of her torch the Statue of Liberty measures 93 meters high, and weights approximately 204 tons. Miss Liberty wears a size 879 shoe and her waistline measures 35-feet. Her crown has 25 windows set inside seven spikes that represent the seven oceans and sevens continents.

statue of liberty birthday, statue of liberty skyImage via Grufink

Miss Liberty shows up for work everyday of the year and for that we are grateful, as she has become one of the most important icons for the United States and New York City.

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Want to learn more about the neighborhood that hugs this icon? Check out our historic timeline of the Financial District here >>

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Neighborhoods : Battery Park City,Financial District

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