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The statue was designed by Frederic Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel who began work on the Eiffel Tower the following year. In 1886 Liberty was the largest statue in the world. The dedication was October 28, 1886.
Bartholdi began work in Paris by making plaster casts of each part of the design, and forming the copper around the casts. Eiffel’s job was to then design the iron construction to support each piece.
The entire statue was assembled outside the workshop in Pairs to make sure everything fit properly and that Eiffel’s iron would hold the tonnage. The arm had already been sent to Philadelphia for the 1876 Centennial.
This picture was taken during the Civil War of the fort on Bedloe’s Island. Once the island was selected for the statue, the next phase was to decide what kind of base to build. Congress was upset that they were being forced to pay for a base and at first offered the star fort alone. It took several years, but private money was raised to build a taller base using the star fort as a starter.
The venerable magazine, first published in 1845, published a detailed drawing of driving the first rivet for the iron tower.
A photo of the uncrated face on Bedloe’s.
The framework is close to finished in this photo.
A view of the dedication from NYC.
A photo of the boats around the island.
While still the largest statue in the US, it no longer makes the top ten list in the world. The copper statue is 151 feet tall, the stone base is 305 feet, but the base does not count as part of the statue.
Considerable reconstruction has been done over the years. Today, Liberty holds a new torch, the old one considered too corroded to refurbish. The flame of the torch is covered in pure gold. Portions of the copper skin have been replaced where holes appeared, especially where bolts held the skin to the iron frame creating a galvanic chemical reaction. Most if not all the iron frame has been replaced with stainless steel and two elevators have been added.
Because Bedloe’s Island belonged to the War Department, they were given control over the statue until 1933 when the military no longer had a use for the island. Bedloe’s was renamed Liberty Island in 1956.
Here is a video about the statue and it’s construction from the History Channel:
Parade Magazine gives us 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Statue of Liberty.