Guest Author - Megan Romer
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous monuments in the United States, and one of the most recognizable symbols of American freedom and liberty.
The Statue of Liberty's formal name is "Liberty Enlightening the World." It was dedicated in 1886, the hundred-year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of France, and it was designed by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, with the internal structure being designed by Maurice Koechlin.
The idea was originally conceived by Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, who was building the Suez Canal at the time. The plan was that the French would pay for the construction of the statue itself, and the Americans would pay for the base. Interestingly, neither country's government paid for the statue - it really was genuinely paid for by the citizens of each country, who raised money through various fundraising campaigns. One of the fundraising sides on the American campaign actually produced the famous Statue of Liberty Poem, "The New Colossus," which is famous for the line, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."
In June of 1885, the statue, which had been built in France in hundreds of smaller pieces, arrived on a boat in New York Harbor in 350 individual pieces, and was then assembled on top of the pedestal on Liberty Island.
The Statue of Liberty is made of copper, and its peculiar green color is actually the color of oxidized copper. When it was first built, it was brilliant and shining. It has not been fully cleaned since it was built, but early postcards and paintings show the statue in its original copper glory.