13 Facts You Didn’t Know About the Statue of Liberty

“Lady Liberty” is quite old by now: She turned 130 years old in 2016

“Lady Liberty” is one of the most famous statues in the world. More than 130 years ago, on October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was inaugurated in New York Harbor. We have collected 13 curious facts about the green lady with the torch in her hand.

There is one place at the top of the list of all New York tourists: the Statue of Liberty. More than 130 years ago, “Lady Liberty” was inaugurated in the Port of New York, today she is more than just an attraction – she has become a symbol of the free world. Here are 13 curious facts about the probably most famous Statue of Liberty. 


Actually the green lady with the torch in her hand was not green at all. Researchers believe that she was originally dark brown. The statue is made of a framework of iron. Around it is a layer of copper – and that was actually brown. But the color has only lasted about 20 years, scientists believe. Then the outer skin of the statue has weathered and rusted and gradually turned green.


The statue with the full name “Liberty Enlightening the World” was a gift from France to the USA, but only partially. France was responsible for the statue, the USA for the pedestal. Because fundraising for the statue was extremely slow on both sides of the Atlantic, the gift came ten years too late – it was actually supposed to be inaugurated on the 100th anniversary of American independence in 1876.


In 1878 the head was still shown at the world exhibition in Paris. Then the statue was disassembled into 350 parts and transported in 214 boxes by the freighter “Isere” through stormy weather across the Atlantic. Within four months it was . In front of thousands of spectators, the then US President Grover Cleveland inaugurated the statue on October 28, 1886, in the port of New York.reassembled


The Statue of Liberty has its own island called Liberty Island, which is about 2.5 kilometers from the southern tip of Manhattan. Although the water around the island already belongs to the state of New Jersey, the state of New York is responsible for Liberty Island. There used to be a fortress on the island and it was called Bedloe Island. Only in 1956 it was officially renamed to Liberty Island.


People have lived on the island for more than 200 years, although never many. Since the beginning of 2014, however, “Lady Liberty” has lived there alone, after her last neighbor, the supervisor David Luchsinger, retired. For four years, Luchsinger had lived together with his wife Debbie in a small building on the famous island and worked as the statue’s caretaker. However, hurricane “Sandy” had destroyed the couple’s house so badly in 2012 that the Luchsingers had to be temporarily evacuated. The caretakers of the statue now no longer live on Liberty Island. However, the green lady receives visits from around four million tourists arriving by ferry every year.


The Statue of Liberty itself was also slightly damaged by “Sandy”, but has now been repaired and is ready to be visited. In strong winds, the statue can swing almost eight centimeters back and forth, the torch even twelve.

Role model

The statue was designed by the Frenchman Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. It depicts Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. Bartholdi supposedly modeled the face after that of his mother.


The statue is 46 meters high without pedestal, the nose is 1.37 meters long. “Lady Liberty” wears a robe, has a plaque with the date of American independence in her left hand and raises her right hand with a torch. On her head, she wears a crown with seven prongs – one for each continent. Made of foam rubber, the crown is a popular tourist disguise.


It doesn’t say “Lady Liberty.” She’s leaving. Her right foot is elevated. Around her feet are broken chains, as a symbol of liberation.


The torch was originally intended to serve as a lighthouse. Scientists tinkered with it for years but just couldn’t get it bright enough. So now the torch has no function. 100 years ago, the right arm was also damaged in a bomb attack by German saboteurs. Since then, only the caretaker has been allowed to climb into the torch via a long, shaky ladder.


Visitors are allowed to enter the statue and – after prior registration – also up to the crown. In the base there is a small museum.  The responsible US park authority has also announced the construction of a new museum on the island.


The statue has many twin sisters in other cities, including one in Alsace. This one is only 12 meters high and a replica made of synthetic resin. Like the big sister in New York, it stands at the entrance to the city and has been welcoming arrivals there since 2004. Why in Colmar? Designer Bartholdi was born in the Alsatian town in 1834. While Bartholdi worked on the statue for years, the replica was completed over 100 years later within nine months.


Artists have painted the Statue of Liberty, and it also plays a role in numerous films. However, it has also been destroyed several times in the process, for example in “Independence Day” or “The Day After Tomorrow”.

A gift from the French

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French to the Americans to mark the 100th anniversary of American independence in 1876

It’s on Liberty Island.

Thus, since October 28, 1986, the Statue of Liberty has stood about 2 kilometers from Manhattan on its own island, which even bears its name. While the island was called Bedloe Island for the first decades, it was renamed Liberty Island in 1956.

From France to the USA

How did the Statue of Liberty arrive in New York Harbor? The head of the statue was still shown at the world exhibition in Paris in 1878. A little later the statue was disassembled into 350 individual parts, packed into 214 boxes and shipped to the ship “Isere”. After the freighter arrived in New York, it was rebuilt within 4 months and already on October 28, 1886, the statue was inaugurated in the port of New York by the US President Crover Cleveland.