Statue of Liberty is 125
October 28, 1886, dawned shrouded in fog and rain, but the weather didn’t dampen the spirits of those who had come to celebrate the dedication of France’s gift of friendship to the people of the United States, an enormous statue of a woman entitled “Liberty Enlightening the World.” New York City welcomed her with its first ticker-tape parade, and a flotilla of nearly 300 vessels sailed to Bedloe’s Island (now Liberty Island) to greet her. The Statue of Liberty, as she quickly became known, was soon an international beacon of freedom; and she remains so today.
Statue of Liberty partly clouded by smoke
from military and naval salute marking the
President’s arrival at Liberty Island in 1886.
Frederic Auguste Bartholdi conceived the idea of the Statue, whose construction also represents a significant technical achievement. Bartholdi and his assistants progressively enlarged over 300 plaster sections of the Statue until reaching the desired size. Latticed wooden molds were then made for each section, and copper sheets three-eighths of an inch thick were hammered over the mold. At the time, the Statue was the tallest figure ever to be sculpted and the largest copper statue in history.
Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty – the illumination
of New York Harbor. A bird’s-eye view of the
statue, harbor and fireworks in 1886.
To commemorate the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, the National Park Service (NPS) held a special series of events on Oct. 28th. The day honored the Statue’s history by evoking the original dedication festivities, but also confidently envisioned the park’s future as a beacon of freedom in the high-tech global community.
“The Statue has evolved in meaning since she first graced our shores 125 years ago”, said David Luchsinger, Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. “She began as a symbol of friendship between France and the United States, evolved into a symbol of our great country, and is known today as an international symbol of freedom for people everywhere.”
Re-constructing the statue in 1886.
Since the day of her dedication, the Statue of Liberty has greeted immigrants in search of a better life to America’s shores. In honor of her status as a symbol of enduring hope and welcome, 125 immigrants became new U.S. Citizens on Liberty Island the morning of Oct. 28th, before the park opened. The citizenship candidates came from more than 40 countries, including Albania, Senegal, China, Italy, Haiti, Honduras, Croatia and the Dominican Republic.
A small flotilla of government, commercial and private vessels offered a salute to the Statue at the close of the ceremony, evoking the 1886 “water parade” that attended her dedication.
But the National Park Service was not merely celebrating Lady Liberty’s history; it was also expanding her ability to inspire humanity by furthering her reach on the World Wide Web with the launch of the “torch cam,” which looks out over New York Harbor from the Statue’s vantage point.
When architects, engineers, and historians began planning the
renovation of the Statue of Liberty in 1984, they discovered that
insufficient photographic information existed documenting the
original Statue. To insure a permanent record for future curators
approximately 200 large format photographs were taken by the
Historic American Engineering Record.
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. now brings never-before-seen views of Liberty Island and New York Harbor to the general public with” bird’s eye views” from Lady Liberty’s torch via “The Lady LIVE.” See the breathtaking view on here.
[Images from Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division]