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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty officially titled Liberty Enlightening the World dedicated on October 28, 1886, is a monument commemorating the centennial of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence, given to the United States by the people of France to represent the friendship between the two countries established during the American Revolution. It represents a woman wearing a stola, a radiant crown and sandals, trampling a broken chain, carrying a torch in her raised right hand and a tabula ansata, where the date of the Declaration of Independence JULY IV MDCCLXXVI is inscribed, in her left arm.

Statue of LibertyStanding on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, it welcomes visitors, immigrants, and returning Americans traveling by ship. Frederic Auguste Bartholdi sculpted the statue and obtained a U.S. patent for its structure. Maurice Koechlin chief engineer of Gustave Eiffel's engineering company and designer of the Eiffel Tower engineered the internal structure. The pedestal was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt. Eugene Viollet-le-Duc was responsible for the choice of copper in the statue's construction, and for the adoption of the repousse technique, where a malleable metal is hammered on the reverse side.

The statue is made of a sheathing of pure copper, hung on a framework of steel with the exception of the flame of the torch, which is coated in gold leaf. It stands atop a rectangular stonework pedestal with a foundation in the shape of an irregular eleven-pointed star. The statue is 151 ft or 46 m tall, but with the pedestal and foundation, it is 305 ft or 93 m tall. Worldwide, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable icons of the United States. For many years it was one of the first glimpses of the United States for millions of immigrants and visitors after ocean voyages from around the world.

Statue of LibertyThe statue is the central part of Statue of Liberty National Monument, administered by the National Park Service. The National Monument also includes Ellis Island. In 1984, the Statue of Liberty was added to the list of World Heritage Sites. In 2007, the Statue of Liberty was one of 20 finalists in a competition to name the New Seven Wonders of the World.The climb to the top is 146 stairs on the double-helix stair case. Inside the copper statue it is approximately 15 to 20ºF warmer than it is outside. The NPS allows 10 people at a time with 3 groups an hour up into the crown. This provides a view of New York Harbor the orientation of the statue faces Brooklyn through 25 windows, the largest approximately 18" or 46 cm high. The view does not, therefore, include the skyline of Manhattan, except through the smallest windows on the left side of the crown.

There are 354 steps inside the statue and its pedestal, with 25 windows in the crown which comprise the jewels beneath the seven rays of the diadem. The keystone which the statue holds in her left hand reads, in Roman numerals, July 4, 1776 the day of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The Statue of Liberty was engineered to withstand heavy winds. Winds of 50 miles per hour or 80 km/h cause the Statue to sway 3 inches or 76 mm and the torch to sway 5 inches or 130 mm. This allows the Statue to move rather than break in high wind load conditions.

The Statue of Liberty quickly became a popular icon, featured in scores of posters, pictures, motion pictures, and books. A 1911 O. Henry story relates a fanciful conversation between Mrs. Liberty and another statue it figured in 1918 Liberty Loan posters. During the 1940s and 1950s, pulp Science Fiction magazines featured Lady Liberty surrounded by ruins or by the sediments of the ages. It has been in dozens of motion pictures.

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