11 fabulous facts about the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous landmarks in the world – and even though she’s already 131 years old, Lady Liberty still looks fabulous. Here are our 11 favorite facts to prove that the statue is way more than a just another photo op in the Big Apple.
1. Her real name is…
The actual name of the statue is Liberty Enlightening the World; Statue of Liberty is only a nickname.
2. From red to green
The statue is made of copper and used to be a shiny reddish-brown color (like an American one penny coin). To everyone’s surprise, the statue changed its color to the green-blue patina over the course of the next two decades (not really – they should have known!).
3. Lady Liberty by the numbers
From the foundation of the pedestal all the way to the torch, the statue is 93 m high and weighs 225 tons. When it was erected in 1886, it was the tallest iron structure in the world. Lady Liberty wears size 879 sandals and has a 11 m (35 feet) waistline. You will need to climb 377 steps to see the 25 windows in her crown – its seven spikes represent the seven oceans and continents.
4. A mother’s day gift
The Statue of Liberty was designed by Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor. He modeled the face after his mother, Charlotte, and basically won all the Son of the Year awards ever.
5. A transatlantic gift
The statue was a gift from the French to the Americans and it commemorates the two countries’ alliance during the American Revolution and has since not only become a symbol of liberty, justice, and democracy, but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. A one-way ticket to America
The statue was completed and presented to the US ambassador in France on July 4, 1884. It stayed there until it was disassembled into 300 pieces, packed up into 214 crates, and shipped to the US in 1885, where it was reassembled. The journey across the Atlantic Ocean took a week longer than planned and the vessel carrying the one-ton statue almost sank in a storm.
7. Let there be light
Between 1886 and 1906, The Statue of Liberty functioned as a lighthouse. The power was not strong enough to sufficiently guide the ships after sunset, so the Liberty Lighthouse closed after 16 years.
8. The Lady’s tablet
On Lady Liberty’s copper tablet – kind of like an old-school iPad – you can find JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776) inscribed, this is the date of the American Declaration of Independence.
9. Passing the torch
The torch was open for visitors until 1916 when the ‘Black Tom Explosion’ damaged the skirt and the torch of Lady Liberty. In 1986, the torch was removed and replaced with a new and shiny one – the current flame is covered with 24 karat gold leaves, while its predecessor can be admired in the statue’s lobby.
10. A step toward freedom
If you could lift Lady Liberty’s copper dress, you would see that her right foot is raised, and that she is standing among broken shackles and chains – a symbol of moving forward from tyranny and oppression.
11. Lightning does strike (more than) twice
It is believed that the statue gets hit by up to 600 bolts of lightning every year. That’s not all the weather-related trouble the statue has to endure though: Even though she looks unshakeable, 50 mph winds can cause Lady Liberty to sway up to three inches, while the torch may even move up to six inches back and forth.