The colossal Statue of Liberty, which towers over the New York Harbor as a symbol of American liberty, is one of the most recognizable and scenic sights in the world. Take a look at some construction photographs that tell the story behind one of the world's most iconic landmarks!
Formally named “Liberty Enlightening the World”, the Statue of Liberty was the brainchild of French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Stories tell of the young Bartholdi inspired by a comment made by Édouard René de Laboulaye sometime in 1865: “If a monument should rise in the United States, as a memorial to their independence, I should think it only natural if it were built by united effort—a common work of both our nations.”
Although Laboulaye’s statement in reference to the Union in American Civil War was not meant as a proposal, Bartholdi nevertheless felt compelled to discuss his idea with the French politician and law professor. However, the French sculptor would only begin to seriously pursue the project several years later, after the Franco-Prussian War and finally setting foot on American soil in 1871. It was during this trip to New York that Bartholdi had set his eyes on the would-be site for the statue—Bedloe’s Island, which would later be called the Liberty Island.
Despite delays, funding problems, and separate construction sites, Lady Liberty, France’s gift of friendship to the United States, was finally presented to the world in 1886. The enormous and majestic Statue of Liberty was unveiled by President Grover Cleveland on October 28, 1886 in a ceremony of dedication. Since then, America’s Lady Liberty has been visited, photographed, and depicted by countless tourists, photographers, and artists from all over the world.
If you’re curious about the Statue of Liberty’s origins, here are some photos telling the story behind the making of the monument!
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If you liked this article, you might also be interested in reading The Making of a Global Icon: Eiffel Tower Construction, or taking a look at some Lady Liberty photos on Lomography!