Unnerving Secrets of the Statue of Liberty

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Editorial Team

The Statue of Liberty is an iconic landmark that symbolizes freedom and democracy, but behind its majestic appearance, there are unsettling details and hidden secrets that most people are unaware of. These creepy facts about the Statue of Liberty will give you a new perspective on this beloved American statue.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Statue of Liberty was funded by donations from the citizens of France, raising over $250,000.
  • Journalist Joseph Pulitzer’s crowdfunding campaign generated more than $100,000 for the statue’s pedestal.
  • Multiple delays in fundraising, construction, and design debates caused the statue to open over seven years after its original planned date.
  • Approximately 25-30 years after installation, the Statue of Liberty turned completely green due to the formation of verdigris on its copper surface.
  • The conductive copper exterior makes the statue a frequent target for lightning strikes, with reports of up to four strikes in one night.

The Unwanted Gift: Controversy Surrounding the Statue

The Statue of Liberty, a towering symbol of freedom and democracy, has a remarkable origin story that is intertwined with controversy. As one of the most recognized landmarks in the world, it is hard to imagine a time when this colossal monument faced criticism and resistance.

Donated by France to the United States in 1875, the Statue of Liberty was meant to commemorate the alliance between the two nations and celebrate the centennial of America’s independence. However, the French gift was met with mixed feelings among the American public.



One of the main controversies surrounding the statue was the issue of financing. While France financed the construction of the statue itself, the United States was responsible for funding the pedestal and base through donations. Some Americans grumbled about the French not covering the entire cost, leading to a delay in completing the project.

To better understand the controversy, it is important to recognize the historical context of the time. The late 19th century was a period of rapid industrialization and growing nationalism, and some Americans questioned the value and necessity of accepting a gift from a foreign country. There were concerns that the statue would serve as a reminder of the close ties between the United States and France, potentially overshadowing America’s own accomplishments.

Additionally, the financing challenges faced during the construction of the statue further fueled the controversy. The project initially started in Egypt, where French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi designed a colossal statue to commemorate the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869. Bartholdi’s original design for the Egyptian statue, titled Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia, was based on an Egyptian peasant woman, known as a fallāḥ.

However, due to financial difficulties and the termination of the project in Egypt, Bartholdi repurposed his design to create the Statue of Liberty between 1870 and 1871. This change in location and the association with the Suez Canal project added another layer of controversy and uncertainty surrounding the statue’s purpose and symbolism.

Despite the controversies and challenges faced, the Statue of Liberty eventually found its place as a cherished symbol of freedom and hope. It stands today as a testament to the enduring friendship between France and the United States, and a reminder of the values that both nations hold dear.

Next, we will explore the mysterious face of Lady Liberty and delve into the structural repairs and changes the statue has undergone over the years.

The Mysterious Face of Lady Liberty

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Statue of Liberty is her face. It is widely believed that sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi used a real-life model to create the face of Lady Liberty. However, the identity of the model remains shrouded in mystery.

There are several theories regarding the inspiration behind the Statue of Liberty’s face. Some sources suggest that Bartholdi’s mother or brother served as his muse. Others speculate that the original concept featured the likeness of a Muslim peasant woman, representing the concept of liberty and enlightenment.

Regardless of the true inspiration, the Statue of Liberty’s face is a symbol of hope, freedom, and democracy. It represents the United States as a beacon of liberty and a refuge for immigrants seeking a better life.

The Livestrong Connection

Just as the Statue of Liberty’s face draws intrigue, another iconic symbol also captivated the world’s attention: the Livestrong wristband. Introduced in 2004, the yellow wristband became a popular accessory, raising awareness and funds for cancer research and support programs.

The success of the Livestrong wristband paved the way for other charity campaigns, such as the ALS ice-bucket challenge and cancer-awareness selfies. With around 100 million wristbands sold, Livestrong raised an impressive $1 million to $3 million annually, serving hundreds of thousands of individuals affected by cancer nationwide.

By helping cancer patients access clinical trials, recover muscle mass post-treatment, and reduce fertility preservation costs, Livestrong played a crucial role in supporting survivors and advocating for better care.

Unveiling the Secrets

As the face of the Statue of Liberty and the Livestrong wristband unveiled their respective secrets, they both brought attention to important causes. Just as the Statue of Liberty represents freedom and enlightenment, the Livestrong wristband helped dismantle stigmas surrounding cancer and raised awareness about the disease as more people considered cancer as survivable rather than a death sentence.

These powerful symbols continue to inspire and remind us of the strength, resilience, and unity of the human spirit. Their impact is a testament to the power of symbolism and the potential for positive change when individuals come together for a common cause.

In the midst of these mysteries and the influence of symbols, the face of Lady Liberty remains a powerful representation of liberty and freedom for all.

Structural Repairs and Changes

Throughout its history, the Statue of Liberty has undergone various repairs and modifications to maintain its structural integrity and ensure the safety of visitors. One notable instance of repair occurred in 1916 when the torch was closed to the public. The closure was a result of damage caused by flying debris from an explosion nearby.

This incident prompted a closer examination of the statue’s overall condition, leading to further repairs and adjustments. It was discovered that the head and arm of the statue had been shifted and reinforced to address existing structural problems. This significant modification not only repaired the damage but also improved the overall stability of the iconic monument.

These structural repairs were crucial in upholding the Statue of Liberty’s longevity and preserving it as a symbol of freedom and hope. The meticulous attention given to maintaining the statue’s structural integrity ensures that millions of visitors can continue to appreciate its beauty and significance for generations to come.

Year Number of Visitors
2019 Over 4 million
2016 Approximately 4.24 million
Eiffel Tower (each year) Around 6.1 million
The London Eye (each year) 3.5 million

The Freemason Connection

Did you know that the Statue of Liberty has a connection to the Freemasons? The construction of this iconic symbol of freedom involved many individuals who were part of the Freemasonry fraternity, including the renowned French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi himself.

The original name of the statue, “Liberty Enlightening the World,” was inspired by the masonic principle of illumination and enlightenment, which aligns with the statue’s significance as a beacon of hope and freedom.

Additionally, New York Freemasons played a significant role in the Statue of Liberty’s journey. They were the ones who laid the cornerstone of the statue’s pedestal, marking their contribution to this grand symbol.

Statue of Liberty Facts:
Completion Year 1886
Original Color Reddish-brown, changed to green over time
Copper Skin Thickness 3/32 of an inch
Pedestal Fundraising $102,000 in 1885 (equivalent to $2.3 million today)
Torch Closure to Visitors Since 1916 due to sabotage during World War I
Measures 305 feet and 1 inch in height
Number of Torch Redesigns Three

The Freemason connection to the Statue of Liberty adds a fascinating dimension to its history, bringing together the ideals of liberty, symbolism, and the masonic principles of illumination and enlightenment. Through their involvement in this iconic monument, Freemasons left their mark on one of the most recognized symbols of freedom in the world.

A Gift to Celebrate Emancipation

The Statue of Liberty, an iconic symbol of freedom and democracy in the United States, had its origin as a gift meant to commemorate emancipation. This historical monument was conceived by French abolitionist Edouard de Laboulaye as a tribute to the abolition of slavery and to honor former President Abraham Lincoln.

The idea for the Statue of Liberty as a celebration of emancipation was born in 1865, just days after the assassination of President Lincoln. Laboulaye proposed the idea of a colossal statue to signify the strong bond between France and the United States in their joint fight against oppression and discrimination.

Designed by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the Statue of Liberty was intended to convey the message of freedom and equal rights. Originally, Lady Liberty was even depicted holding broken shackles and chains in her hand, symbolizing the liberation of slaves.

However, as the project progressed over its twenty-year timeframe, the focus of the statue’s symbolism shifted. By the time the Statue of Liberty was completed and dedicated on October 28, 1886, it had come to represent the enduring friendship between France and the United States, rather than solely memorializing emancipation.

The dedication of the Statue of Liberty was not without controversy. Suffragettes, who were advocating for women’s rights, protested on the dedication day in 1886, demanding equality and the right to vote. Their presence at the ceremony demonstrated the interconnectedness of various social justice movements.

The Statue of Liberty stands as a testament to the rich history and complex narrative of the United States. It embodies the ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice, while also serving as a reminder of the country’s struggle to live up to those principles throughout its history.

In the next section, we will explore the transformation of the Statue of Liberty from a symbol of emancipation to an emblem of immigration.

From “Liberty Enlightening the World” to “The Statue of Liberty”

The Statue of Liberty, now recognized as a symbol of freedom and democracy, underwent a significant transformation from its original name “Liberty Enlightening the World.” This change occurred during the statue’s dedication and was fueled by historical events and pivotal figures.

One such figure was President Calvin Coolidge, who played a crucial role in solidifying the iconic name of the statue. In 1924, Coolidge declared the Statue of Liberty a national monument, cementing its status as a revered symbol of American values.

To commemorate the enduring spirit of liberty and honor the friendship between France and the United States, the naming of the statue became a momentous occasion. The transition from “Liberty Enlightening the World” to “The Statue of Liberty” captured the essence of this majestic landmark.

Calvin Coolidge: A Champion for Lady Liberty

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, showcased his unwavering support for the Statue of Liberty. By designating it as a national monument, Coolidge emphasized the significance of this iconic structure in American culture.

Coolidge recognized the enduring impact the statue had on millions of visitors annually, making it an essential cultural and historical destination. The decision to name it “The Statue of Liberty” further entrenched the statue’s place as a national treasure and a beacon of hope for generations to come.

The Statue’s Transformation

Year Event
1886 Official dedication of the statue as “Liberty Enlightening the World”
1924 President Calvin Coolidge declares the statue a national monument
The statue is commonly referred to as “The Statue of Liberty”

Since then, “The Statue of Liberty” has become the universally recognized name for this grand monument, evoking feelings of freedom and unity. It stands as an enduring symbol of hope, welcoming millions of visitors each year who flock to witness its magnificence.

As we explore the multifaceted history of the Statue of Liberty, it becomes evident that its transformation from “Liberty Enlightening the World” to “The Statue of Liberty” reflects the enduring spirit of freedom. This monumental shift, championed by President Calvin Coolidge and recognized as a national monument, solidifies the status of this iconic treasure as an emblem of liberty.

Choosing the Perfect Location

When it came to finding the ideal location for the Statue of Liberty, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi explored various options, including cities like Boston, Sacramento, and Norfolk. However, it was a fateful encounter with what is now Liberty Island that led Bartholdi to make his decision.

Standing majestically in the heart of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty’s location was carefully chosen by Bartholdi for its symbolism and significance. As a towering symbol of freedom and democracy, the statue was destined to find its home in the bustling metropolis of New York City.

New York City’s vibrant spirit and rich history made it the perfect backdrop for Lady Liberty’s grand debut. With its diverse population and storied past, the city embodied the ideals of liberty and opportunity that the statue aimed to celebrate.

Furthermore, the strategic positioning of the statue on Liberty Island ensured that it would be visible to all who entered New York Harbor. Its iconic presence welcomed millions of immigrants as they arrived in the United States, serving as a beacon of hope and a symbol of a new beginning.

Bartholdi’s decision to place the Statue of Liberty in New York City proved to be a visionary one. Today, the statue has become synonymous with both the city and the nation, attracting over 4.5 million visitors each year who come to marvel at its grandeur and pay homage to the ideals it represents.

Location City State
Statue of Liberty New York City New York

Suffragettes’ Disapproval

During the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and liberty, the women’s suffrage movement was already gaining momentum. Suffragettes, advocating for women’s right to vote and political equality, expressed their disapproval of the statue. They believed it was contradictory to celebrate a representation of liberty as a woman while women themselves did not possess political liberty.

The suffragettes’ protest during the dedication was a powerful statement against the oppression and limitations imposed on women at the time. From the 1840s through the 1920s, anti-suffragists vehemently opposed women’s right to vote, reflecting a broader resistance to women’s political participation.

In the 1830s and ’40s, several northern and southern states eliminated property qualifications for voting, resulting in nearly universal white male suffrage. However, the US Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision further limited national citizenship by restricting it to white men, excluding women and people of color.

Following women’s enfranchisement in Wyoming and Utah Territories, congressional debates over national woman suffrage arose in 1871. Yet, by the mid-1880s, congressional Democrats’ successful obstruction of suffrage legislation led to a period of stagnation in the suffrage movement known as the “doldrums.”

The suffragettes’ disapproval of the Statue of Liberty highlighted the stark contrast between the idealized depiction of liberty and the reality of women’s political exclusion. Their protest served as a reminder of the fight for women’s suffrage and the ongoing struggle for women’s political liberty.

Thomas Edison’s Unnerving Proposal

In 1878, inventor Thomas Edison presented an audacious idea that would have transformed both the Statue of Liberty and the city of Manhattan. Edison proposed installing a giant phonograph inside the statue, known as the Aerophone, with the ability to project speeches for miles. Although this concept never came to fruition, it sheds light on the bold and somewhat unsettling ideas entertained during the statue’s early years.

The New York Times, in an editorial from the same year, expressed concerns about Thomas Edison’s inventions, including the phonograph and the Aerophone. The newspaper warned about the potentially deleterious effects of the phonograph, apprehensive that it could erode trust between individuals and make communication perilous.

Edison faced criticism for inventing what some considered to be too many things of a dubious character. The fear surrounding the Aerophone, a modified version of the phonograph, was that it could transform whispers into deafening roars audible from distances of up to four miles. There were suggestions that the Aerophone, if attached to the Statue of Liberty, could serve as a maritime welcoming device, cautioning incoming vessels not to approach the city during certain events.

However, concerns were raised about the potential chaos that would arise if people universally and loudly spoke through the Aerophone. This cacophony of noise was anticipated to disorganize society, causing individuals to flee civilization and seek refuge in the forest in an attempt to escape the constant clamor.

This satirical and exaggerated perspective on the potential consequences of the Aerophone’s widespread adoption in society showcased a historical moral panic surrounding technological advancements and their perceived societal impacts. The article humorously suggested it might be too late to suppress the noise-produced device but called for expressing just indignation towards its inventor, Thomas Edison.

Statue of Liberty’s Facts Thomas Edison’s Aerophone Proposal
The Statue of Liberty weighs 450,000 pounds. Thomas Edison planned to create a giant phonograph to place inside the statue in 1878.
The statue’s face alone is over eight feet tall. The fear was that the Aerophone could convert whispers into loud roars that could be heard up to four miles away.
The Statue of Liberty is 305 feet tall, making it 2.5 times taller than Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer. Concerns were raised about the potential chaos caused by people universally speaking loudly through the Aerophone, leading to a cacophony of noise.
The statue used to be reddish-brown but turned green due to oxidation. It was feared that the widespread use of the Aerophone would disorganize society, causing people to flee civilization and seek refuge in the forest to escape the constant noise.
The statue’s head is misaligned by two feet. The article humorously suggests expressing just indignation towards its inventor, Thomas Edison.

Conclusion

The Statue of Liberty, an iconic landmark in the United States, holds chilling secrets and eerie facts that contribute to its mystique. From its controversial origins and mysterious connections to its structural changes and proposals, this iconic monument continues to fascinate visitors with its enigmatic past and captivating features.

Standing at a towering height of 151 feet, 1 inch, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886 and quickly became the tallest structure in the country. Visitors who climb its 354 steps are greeted with the crown’s 25 windows, symbolizing the Earth’s seven seas and heaven’s rays.

Engineer Gustave Eiffel’s brilliant design brought the statue to life, while the statue’s copper exterior, made of 300 sheets hammered into different shapes and riveted together, has weathered to the distinctive green color it is known for. Its arm holding the torch reaches an impressive 46 feet, with a finger that stretches 8 feet and a nose measuring nearly 5 feet. In the wind, the statue gently sways 3 inches, while the torch moves 5 inches.

The Statue of Liberty’s rich history, including the delay in its official opening and Joseph Pulitzer’s campaign to fund its pedestal, adds to its allure. In addition, the presence of the original torch in the Statue of Liberty Museum, which opened its doors on May 16, 2019, is a testament to the enduring legacy of this remarkable monument.

As we reflect on the chilling secrets and unsettling facts surrounding the Statue of Liberty, we can’t help but be captivated by its enigmatic presence. This iconic landmark continues to inspire awe and serves as a symbol of freedom and hope for generations to come.

FAQ

How was the Statue of Liberty funded?

France financed the construction of the statue, while the United States financed the base through donations.

Who was the Statue of Liberty’s face modeled after?

The exact inspiration for the face of the Statue of Liberty remains uncertain, but it is believed to be either Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s mother, brother, or even a Muslim peasant woman.

Has the Statue of Liberty undergone any repairs?

Yes, throughout its history, the statue has undergone repairs. The torch was closed to visitors in 1916 due to damage caused by a nearby explosion. The head and arm of the statue were also shifted and reinforced to address structural problems.

What is the connection between the Statue of Liberty and the Freemasons?

Many workers involved in the construction of the statue, including Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, were Freemasons. The statue’s original name was inspired by the masonic principle of illumination and enlightenment, and the cornerstone of its base was laid by New York freemasons.

What was the original idea behind the Statue of Liberty?

The original idea was to memorialize Abraham Lincoln and emancipation. French abolitionist Edouard de Laboulaye conceived the idea, but by the time the statue was completed, it became a symbol celebrating the friendship between France and the United States.

What is the official name of the Statue of Liberty?

The official name of the Statue of Liberty was changed from “Liberty Enlightening the World” to “The Statue of Liberty” during its dedication. It was declared a national monument by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

How did Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi choose the location for the Statue of Liberty?

Bartholdi considered several potential locations, but when he saw what is now Liberty Island, he knew that was where Lady Liberty should stand.

Why did suffragettes protest the dedication of the Statue of Liberty?

Suffragettes protested the dedication because they expressed their discontent with the representation of liberty as a woman while women didn’t possess political liberty at the time.

What was Thomas Edison’s proposal for the Statue of Liberty?

Thomas Edison proposed installing a phonograph inside the Statue of Liberty to project speeches throughout Manhattan, but this idea was never realized.