Calendar of Cool: Statue of Liberty Arrives in New York

The Statue of Liberty is an American icon, but New York Harbor’s green lady is actually a native of France! The statue was built as a symbol of friendship between France and the United States, and to celebrate the 100th birthday of America.

On June 19, 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in 315 pieces to its new home, and took over a year to be constructed. Officially called Liberty Enlightening the World, the statue was so massive that it couldn’t be fully built in time for its official celebration. So Lady Liberty’s designer, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, sent over the completed arm and torch so people would know what the statue would look like. At the time it was finally done and dedicated in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was the largest statue ever built, and the largest structure in the world. 

liberty arm

It’s no surprise that Liberty is embodied by a woman. French and American people have portrayed the concept as an elegant, regal lady for centuries. In France this woman is called La Marianne, and has had many forms. Every four years, French mayors elect a Frenchwoman to represent Marianne. She will have her likeness captured in statues, stamps, and even money! New York’s own version of Marianne has a smaller copy standing in Paris, surrounded by generations of other visions of French womanhood and liberty.

sculpt

A centuries-old woman who crossed an ocean to stand so tall and represent so much? Extremely cool.

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