The Statue of Liberty was a present from France to the United States

The Statue of Liberty in numbers

Total Height :  93m

Height of Statue : 46m

Height of Pedestal : 27m

Height of foundation : 20m

Length of Hand : 5m

Length of index finger : 2,5m

Weight : 204,545 kg

Length of nose : 1,5m

steps : 168

« The French people should give the American people a monument to independence and liberty »

« New york is where people get their first view of the New World. It is the door to America »

Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi , a 31-year-old sculptor from Alsace , agreed. That night, the idea of the Statue of Liberty was born. In 1870, Laboulaye told Bartholdi to visit the United States. When Bartholdi arrived in New York Harbor in 1871, he found the perfect home for the statue : Bedloe’s Island.

The sculptor took a small model of the statue, called « Liberty Enlightening » the World , with him. People loved his idea. But nobody gave him money or a site.

In 1874, Laboulaye and Bartholdi decided to begin the statue. But it was very expensive, so they decided that France would pay for the statue, and America would pay for the pedestal and foundation. A Franco-American committee was created to raise money. The money was slow in coming , so they decided to have a lottery.

Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel designed the statue’s skeleton. In August 1876 , the arm and torsh were finished and sent to the U.S. For 50 cents , visitors climbed into the torch. It was the first time people could climb inside part of a statue, and they were very enthusiastic.

Lady Liberty was finally finished in June 1884. But Laboulaye never saw his dream completed. He died in the winter of 1883.

A Statue for all of America

The statue was sent to America in 1885. Bartholdi assumed that the statue’s base was nearly finished. But he was wrong ! In fact , the Americans had done very little. The American press did not like the idea, because the pedestal cost as much as the statue. People outside of New York said : » Let New York pay for it ».

People say that the statue’s face was modeled on Bartholdi’s mother.

A dream is accomplished

The statue arrived on Bedloe’s Island in 214 crates on June 15, 1885. The foundation was constructed, using 24,000 tons of concrete. It took six months to assemble the statue. On October 25 , 1886 Bartholdi and his wife went to America. « My dream is accomplished » he said. When tha statue of Liberty was unveiled on Oct.28, 1886, people exploded with joy. President Cleveland said : « Liberty will not be neglected »

At that time , the statue of Liberty was New York’s tallest structure. Today, of course, that is not true. But Americans, and tourists, still love to admire her

« The statue is not a present from French millionaires. It is a present from all the people of France to all the people of America. »Joseph Pulitzer

« The statue is not just for New York, it is for all of America »

Avant d’entamer son long voyage vers les Etats Unis ; la célèbre statue fit d’abord un trajet en train afin de l’acheminer des ateliers de Paris, où elle fut construite, jusqu’à la gare de Rouen. Les 350 pièces de la statue étaient réparties dans 214 caisses transportées dans 70 wagons. C’est à son arrivée  à Rouen que le vaste puzzle de pièces de cuivre est transféré sur la frégate l’Isère, l’un des premiers navires français combinant la voile et la vapeur. Elle arrive à New York le 17 Juin 1885 et fut remise officiellement aux Etats Unis le 4 Juillet 1884 , jour de la fête nationale americaine.