The statue was originally known as Liberty Enlightening the World. She was built as a joint venture between the French and the Americans with the Centennial of 1876 in mind, to commemorate the unity between the countries during the Revolutionary War. The French built the statue, designed by sculptor Fredric Auguste Bartholdi, and engineered by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower.) The Americans chose the placement and built the pedestal, designed by Richard Morris Hunt. Financing on both sides of the ocean was difficult, and the dedication occured ten years later than planned. But, the torch was delivered in time for the Centennial of the country.
The dedication of the statue was held on October 18, 1886. President Grover Cleveland dedicated the statue in New York Harbor amidst much celebration.
The statue depicts a woman escaping the chains of tyranny, which lie at her feet. Her right hand holds aloft a burning torch that represents liberty. Her left hand holds a tablet inscribed JULY IV MCCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776), representing the day the United States declared its Independence.
Now known as Liberty Island, the statue was placed in the courtyard of the star shaped walls at Fort Wood, which had been completed for the War of 1812. It was declared a National Monument on October 15, 1924.
Most important is the symbol the Statue of Liberty has become in the United States and around the world. It is believed to be the most recognized symbol in the world.
Happy Birthday, Lady Liberty!!!
Statue of Liberty WebCam