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Problems Encountered In Building The Statue Of Liberty
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Problems Encountered in Building the Statue of Liberty

Recently I listened to a program on National Public Radio on the troubles the United States had in erecting the Statue of Liberty. I thought the program to be especially interesting, but I did not get a chance to hear the whole program. I never knew what transpired then and I wanted to know more about the monumental problems that there were encountered in construction.

The story starts in France where a young Frederic Bartholdi got the idea of erecting a monument as a memorial to United States independence. He started immediately but his work was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War (1870 - 1871).

In 1871 Bartholdi came to New York. He found what he felt was the perfect place for the statue - Bedloe's Island. There ships coming and going would see this statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, as it was first called.

The French agreed to pay for the statue. However, this was met with some opposition in France because the US did not help France in the Franco-Prussian War. .

The Franco American Committee was in charge of the project. The French would finance the statue and the US would provide the pedestal. However, New York could not raise the necessary money to finance the project. Both Philadelphia and Boston were offered the statue.

Joseph Pulitzer came to the rescue. He was publisher of the New York World newspaper. He felt strongly that the statue should be in New York city. Pulitzer started a drive to raise $100,000 needed to build the pedestal. He promised to publish everyone's name who contributed any amount in his newspaper.

After five months, Pulitzer announced that he had raised $102,00 from 120,000 donors. 80% of the donations were less than $1.00.

In 1877, Bartholdi completed the head of the statue. The face was molded after Charlotte Beysser Bartholdi, the sculptor's mother. The head was exhibited at the 1878 Paris World Fair and used for fundraising. Combine this with a lottery, by the end of 1879, 250,000 francs had been raised.

Alexandre Gustav Eiffel was called to design the structure. He used curtain wall construction, where the interior core is used for support the framework and the exterior is hung on the frame.

The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. From several hundred thousand up to a million people watched the parade in New York city. A flotilla of ships paraded out to Bedloe's Island where the formal dedication took place in front of invited dignitaries.

It is hard to imagine after more than 125 years, that such an iconic figure had to overcome so many obstacles in order to be built. Here's to Lady Liberty.


Street Talk

Very interesting article Jack! It is amazing what can be accomplished form an idea!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Awesome piece of history! I love how you told the story. I am a history buff and I didn't know about Pulitzer publishing the names of everyone that donated! That's awesome! Thanks for sharing Lady Liberty with us, Jack!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks for your comments. I really enjoy reading your work.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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