The Statute of Liberty is a monument located in the harbor of New York City. It was presented to the United States by the people of France in 1886 and became a symbol of liberty for all the immigrants coming to the country. The purpose of the gift was to celebrate the centennial of the US as an independent country. The statue is that of a woman dressed in robes and holding a lit flame. It is made of sheet copper and is hung on a steel framework. The flame of the torch is coated in gold leaf. It is one of the symbols of the United States that is recognized all over the world as a symbol of a country to which people fled to escape persecution and oppression.
The interior of the statue is open to visitors. You have to take a ferry from either Liberty Park in New Jersey or Battery Park in New York to reach the location of the statue. Although they are no longer in operation, at one time visitors could climb the circular staircase consisting of 354 steps. About 30 people at a time can fit into the crown, which has 25 windows offering a panoramic view of the harbor. These windows are meant to represent the jewels in the diadem. There is also a tablet on the statue that reads July 4, 1776, which is the date the United States became an independent nation. The statue itself is designed so that it can withstand extreme weather conditions, especially wind. In windy conditions, the statue will sway, rather than break.
The French sculptor, Frederic Bartholdi, was commissioned to create this monument when it was decided what the gift from France would be. His first model, completed in 1870, was only small and is presently on display in the Jardin de Luxembourg in Paris. The American people built the base and the French people built the sculpture and took responsibility for shipping it to New York. Delays prevented the statue from being presented on the date of the centennial, but the arm and the torch were completed so that at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, these pieces were displayed. Visitors paid 50 cents to climb a tall ladder and view these parts of the structure.
The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor on July 17, 1885. It was reduced to 350 pieces and shipped in 214 crates. Once it arrived, the statue then had to be put back together. The final construction of the pedestal was completed on April 22, 1886. During the time between this completion and its arrival, the statue was kept in storage. It took four months to reassemble the pieces and was unveiled on October 22, 1886.
For the first few years, the Statue of Liberty functioned as a lighthouse. In 1910, floodlights were placed around the base. The Black Tom Explosion of 1916 caused about $100,00 damage to the statue. This led to closing the stairs to visitors. Modifications and repairs were made and it was rededicated by President Roosevelt on the 50th anniversary of its unveiling.