The Immigrant In The Harbor
The Statue of Liberty, that most famous symbol representing America and freedom from oppression, is an immigrant herself, lighting the way for all those who came after her, in 1886.
In a fevered pitch to celebrate their Centennial, American politicians decided on a statue of immense proportions that would represent the freedom of their country, and its open arms policy for immigrants. France threw in their lot, and promised to create the statue as a gift to the American people for their history of cooperation. The United States would be responsible for building the base.
But alas, like many a project, money became a problem on both sides of the Atlantic. Costs soared, even in the 19th century, despite the various fund-raising efforts in the United States and France. Work progressed at a snail's pace, and while planned for unveiling in 1876, it was nowhere near complete. In fact, the head and some other portions where displayed in Paris, France in 1878, because at that point, it was all they had.
Sculptor Frederick Auguste Bartholdi had partnered with architect Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower, to create the majestic figure. He designed the actual statue, while Eiffel attended to the practical side of things, such as how to support such immense weight. As a result, the figure was created in sections, through a technique known as repousse, where thin sheets of copper are hammered onto wooden forms. Those plates would then be laid over the skeleton built by Eiffel.
It was finished in the summer of 1884, and shipped to America a year later, in 350 pieces, packed into 214 crates. The pedestal, with its four anchoring girders, would not be finished until Spring of 1886. The statue was dedicated later that year.