Top 5 Secrets of The Statue of Liberty You Probably Didn’t Know

The Statue of Liberty stands tall as one of the most remarkable and famous statue and monument in our modern world. Anyone visiting New York City can see her, standing out in an elegant manner; however not everyone knows that Lady Liberty has her own secrets. And that is what we will look at now. Here are top 5 secrets of the statue of liberty you never knew!

The Statue of Liberty Was Once Split into Pieces

Statue of Liberty torch at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Photo via Library of Congress

It might be really hard to picture it, but when the Statue actually arrived from France, when the country donated it to the USA on June 17, 1885, it was in over 300 copper pieces. The highly regarded, precious cargo was traveling in 214 crates on the French ship, Isère. We must note that the arm holding the torch wasn’t there, yet. It was standing in Madison Square Park for 6 years to help raise money to sponsor the pedestal.

200,000 people came to welcome the statue to the United States as the ship arrived US soil. The official dedication ceremony took place on October 28, 1886, with then US President Grover Cleveland presiding over it.

It Once Served As a Lighthouse

Copyright 1886, photo-Gravure Co.N.Y

The statue was originally meant to serve as a lighthouse for ships sailing into New York Harbor. For two years, it did serve that purpose while its iconic lamp served as its beacon for 16 years. Though this lamp wasn’t bright enough, and, running out of ideas to fix it, its sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi offered to cover the entire statue in gold to make it brighter. Congress rejected the idea citing how expensive the venture would be.

Congress said no to that idea since it would’ve been crazy expensive.

Its Base is a Fort

Statue of Liberty in 1894
Photograph courtesy Library of Congress

Constructed between 1807 and 1811, Fort Wood on Liberty Island took the shape of an eleven sided star. The pedestal of the Statue of Liberty was constructed within the old fort. The construction supporting the pedestal was designed by French engineer and architect; Gustave Eiffel The fort is situated along with brick houses next to it, was home to Army families from 1811 to the 1930s. It currently hosts museums that show the history of the Statue with old photographs, videos, recorded oral stories, and the original torch Lady Liberty was holding in 1886

The Face of the Statue of Liberty Could be that of a Man

Most people think of the Statue of Liberty to be a she, but could it really be a he?

A good chunk of people are believe it’s a representation of the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas. Though it is widely believed that Bartholdi modeled her face after his mother. Countering this, Author Elizabeth Mitchell, claims that the sculptor actually used his brother’s face as a model!

She admitted studying photographs of Bartholdi’s family, where she noticed his mother had a different eyebrow shape, thinner nose and lips, and smaller mouth. She also pointed out the striking resemblance between the sculptor’s brother in his adult years and the statue.

Another theory was presented by a French writer Nathalie Salmon, who claims Lady Liberty was modeled after her ancestor Sarah Salmon. According to her, Bartholdi found Sarah’s features particularly beautiful. Even though she had immigrated to the United States, she and her husband visited the sculptor at his studio when they briefly went back to Paris in 1875. He could’ve used that opportunity to draw Sarah, and later used those images as a model.

 

The Statue Was Originally Meant for Egypt

Aerial view of Statue of Liberty
Photograph courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

The statue’s sculptor Bartholdi did not craft the design of Liberty originally for America. The story goes like this, Bartholdi as a young man visited Egypt and was quickly drawn by the project underway to dig a channel between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

At the 1867 Paris World fair, he met with the Khedive, the then leader of Egypt, and proposed creating a work as wondrous as the pyramids or sphinxes. He then made up an initial design of a colossal woman holding up a lamp and wearing the loose fitting dress of a fellah, a slave, to stand as a lighthouse at the entrance of the Suez Canal. Unfortunately, or fortunately a deal couldn’t be struck and Bartholdi decided to turn to America to pitch his immortal piece.

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