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Monday, December 25, 2023

When was the Statue of Liberty built and finished?

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Monday, December 25, 2023

The Statue of Liberty (wikipedia), an iconic symbol of freedom and hope, has stood tall in the New York City skyline for over a century. Have you ever wondered about the timeline of its construction and when it was finally completed? In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of the Statue of Liberty's construction and provide the answer to the question: When was the Statue of Liberty built and finished?

The Statue of Liberty: A History of Construction

Statue of Liberty
 Statue of Liberty

The Idea and Design:

The Statue of Liberty began as an idea conceived by Édouard de Laboulaye, a French political thinker and abolitionist. Laboulaye proposed the idea of a monument as a gift from France to the United States to commemorate the American Revolution and the friendship between the two nations.

To bring this vision to life, Laboulaye enlisted the expertise of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a renowned French sculptor. Bartholdi played a crucial role in designing the statue, transforming Laboulaye's concept into a tangible work of art.

Bartholdi drew inspiration from various sources, including classical sculptures and ancient Roman goddesses. He envisioned a colossal statue that would serve as a symbol of liberty and enlightenment, representing the ideals of democracy and freedom.

The statue's design features a female figure with a radiant crown, holding a torch in one hand and a tablet inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence in the other. The statue's flowing robes and broken chains at her feet symbolize freedom from oppression.

Bartholdi meticulously crafted the statue's details, ensuring that it would convey a sense of grandeur and strength. The final design underwent several revisions and adjustments before being approved for construction.

With Laboulaye's vision and Bartholdi's artistic brilliance, the idea for the Statue of Liberty took shape, laying the foundation for its eventual construction. The collaboration between these two visionaries would forever change the landscape of New York City and become an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.

Construction Begins:

After the design phase, the construction of the Statue of Liberty commenced in France. The responsibility for fabricating the statue fell upon the skilled hands of numerous craftsmen and artisans.

To create the statue's exterior, a technique called repoussé was employed. This involved hammering and shaping sheets of copper from the outside to create intricate details and contours. The copper sheets were carefully molded and formed to capture the essence of Bartholdi's design.

The repoussé technique required exceptional craftsmanship and precision. Skilled workers meticulously hammered the copper sheets, gradually shaping them into the desired forms and textures. The process involved great care and attention to detail to ensure the accuracy of the statue's features.

Once the copper sections were shaped and formed, they were assembled and secured to an iron framework. The internal structure provided stability and support for the statue, ensuring its durability and longevity.

The construction process in France took several years to complete. The fabrication of the various components, the assembly of the statue's sections, and the application of the finishing touches demanded meticulous workmanship and coordination among the craftsmen involved.

As the construction progressed, anticipation grew for the final unveiling of the Statue of Liberty. The dedication to precision and quality in the construction phase was a testament to the dedication and commitment of all those involved in bringing this monumental work of art to life.

The completion of the construction marked a significant milestone in the history of the Statue of Liberty. The vision of Laboulaye and the artistic prowess of Bartholdi had materialized into a magnificent masterpiece, ready to embark on its journey across the Atlantic to its new home in the United States.

Images of the Statue of Liberty during its construction
Images of the Statue of Liberty during its construction
source: wikipedia

Timeline of Construction

  • 1865: The Idea for the Statue is Proposed

In 1865, Edouard de Laboulaye proposes the idea for the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of friendship between France and the United States.

  • 1870: The Design of the Statue Begins

Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor, begins designing the Statue of Liberty. He draws inspiration from ancient Roman goddesses and incorporates symbolism representing freedom and enlightenment.

  • 1875: Construction on the Statue Begins in France

Actual construction on the Statue of Liberty begins in France. The statue is built using copper sheets, hammered into shape over an iron framework.

  • 1876: The Torch is Completed and Displayed

The torch of the Statue of Liberty is completed in 1876 and displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. It serves as a preview of the monumental statue to come.

  • 1878: The Head and Shoulders are Completed

The head and shoulders of the Statue of Liberty are completed in 1878 and displayed at the Paris Universal Exposition, generating excitement and anticipation for the final unveiling.

  • 1881: Construction on the Pedestal Begins

In 1881, construction on the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty begins in New York City. The American architect Richard Morris Hunt designs the pedestal, which will serve as the statue's base.

  • 1885: The Statue is Disassembled and Shipped to New York City

In 1885, the Statue of Liberty is disassembled in France and shipped to New York City in crates. It will be reassembled on its pedestal in the coming year.

  • 1886: The Statue is Reassembled and Dedicated

The Statue of Liberty is reassembled on its pedestal in June 1886. On October 28, 1886, in a grand dedication ceremony, President Grover Cleveland officially unveils the statue, marking its completion.

Major Milestones:

As construction progressed, several major milestones marked significant achievements in the creation of the Statue of Liberty. These milestones showcased the progress and garnered attention both in France and internationally.

One such milestone was the completion of the torch, a symbol of enlightenment and liberty. The torch was meticulously crafted, embodying the spirit of the Statue of Liberty. Once finished, it was proudly showcased at the Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia in 1876. This grand exhibition provided an opportunity for the public to catch a glimpse of the iconic torch and admire its intricate details.

Another significant milestone occurred with the unveiling of the statue's head and shoulders at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1878. This momentous event allowed visitors to witness the sheer magnitude of the statue and provided a glimpse into its majestic presence. The unveiling generated awe and admiration as people marveled at the colossal head and the distinct features that would soon become synonymous with the Statue of Liberty.

These milestones not only showcased the progress of the construction but also created a sense of anticipation and excitement among the public. The Centennial Exposition and the Paris Universal Exposition provided platforms to introduce the statue's grandeur to a wider audience, leaving an indelible impression on those fortunate enough to witness these significant moments.

With each milestone achieved, the realization of Bartholdi's vision and the collective efforts of all involved came closer to fruition. The completion of the torch and the unveiling of the head and shoulders served as tangible reminders of the magnitude and significance of the Statue of Liberty, heightening the anticipation for its final assembly and ultimate journey to its permanent home in the United States.

Challenges Faced:

The construction of the Statue of Liberty was not without its challenges. Two notable hurdles that were overcome during the process were fundraising and transportation.

One of the major challenges faced during the construction was fundraising to finance the ambitious project. Building such a monumental statue required significant financial resources. To overcome this challenge, efforts were made to secure funding through various means, including public donations and contributions from both France and the United States. Fundraising campaigns were launched to gather the necessary funds to bring Édouard de Laboulaye and Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's vision to life. The project's success relied heavily on the generosity and support of individuals, businesses, and governments.

Another significant challenge was the transportation of the statue's components from France to the United States. The Statue of Liberty was composed of numerous copper sections, which had to be carefully transported across the Atlantic Ocean. This task presented logistical difficulties due to the sheer size and weight of the statue's parts. To address this challenge, the components were disassembled and packed for safe transport. The journey involved careful planning and coordination to ensure the secure arrival of the statue's various sections to its final destination in the United States.

Overcoming these challenges required dedication, perseverance, and collaboration. The success in fundraising and the successful transportation of the statue's components were monumental achievements that played a crucial role in the realization of the Statue of Liberty. These challenges served as tests of determination and demonstrated the unwavering commitment of those involved in bringing this iconic symbol of freedom to life.

Arrival and Assembly:

After overcoming the challenges of fundraising and transportation, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City, marking a significant milestone in its construction. The statue's disassembled components were carefully transported from France to the United States, where they arrived in New York Harbor. The arrival of the statue generated great anticipation and excitement among the American people.

Once the components of the statue reached their destination, the process of reassembly began on Bedloe's Island, now known as Liberty Island. Skilled workers and engineers meticulously pieced together the various sections of the statue, ensuring its structural integrity and faithful reconstruction. This intricate task involved aligning and securing the copper sections, including the body, head, and torch, to recreate the majestic figure envisioned by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

The assembly process required precision and expertise to ensure that the Statue of Liberty would stand proudly and enduringly as a symbol of freedom and hope. The dedication and skill of the individuals involved in this phase of construction were instrumental in bringing the statue to its full glory.

Finally, after the successful reassembly, the Statue of Liberty was ready to be unveiled and become a beacon of freedom and inspiration for generations to come. Its prominent location on Bedloe's Island, overlooking the New York City skyline, solidified its status as an iconic landmark and a symbol of welcoming immigrants to the United States.

The arrival and assembly of the Statue of Liberty marked the culmination of years of planning, fundraising, and construction efforts. It represented the realization of a vision shared by individuals from both France and the United States, united in their commitment to celebrating liberty and embracing the values upon which their nations were founded.

Dedication and Completion:

After years of meticulous planning, fundraising, construction, and assembly, the Statue of Liberty was ready to be officially dedicated as a symbol of liberty and friendship between France and the United States. The dedication ceremony took place on October 28, 1886, and was attended by President Grover Cleveland, along with other notable dignitaries and thousands of spectators.

The ceremony itself was a momentous occasion, signifying the completion of the construction process and the fulfillment of a shared vision. President Cleveland delivered a stirring speech, emphasizing the significance of the statue as a beacon of freedom and a testament to the enduring values of both nations. The event captured the attention of the nation and the world, solidifying the Statue of Liberty's place as an iconic symbol of hope, democracy, and international friendship.

With the dedication ceremony, the construction of the Statue of Liberty officially came to a close. The years of planning, fundraising, and careful craftsmanship had culminated in the realization of Édouard de Laboulaye's and Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's vision. The statue stood proudly on Bedloe's Island, a towering representation of freedom, welcoming immigrants and serving as a reminder of the values upon which the United States was built.

The completion of the Statue of Liberty marked an important milestone in American history and a testament to the power of collaboration and shared ideals. It has since become one of the most recognized and beloved landmarks in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year who come to admire its grandeur and to be inspired by its enduring message of liberty, opportunity, and the pursuit of a better future.

The Statue of Liberty today

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Millions of people visit the statue every year, and it is a symbol of freedom and hope for people all over the world. The Statue of Liberty is a national monument, and it is a reminder of the importance of liberty and democracy.

Here are some interesting facts about the Statue of Liberty's history:

  • The statue's copper skin is made up of 31 tons of copper sheets.
  • The statue's torch is made of 24-karat gold leaf.
  • The statue's pedestal is made of granite and limestone.
  • The Statue of Liberty is 151 feet tall (excluding the pedestal).
  • The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom and democracy.
  • The statue is 151 feet (46 m) tall, including the pedestal.
  • The statue's torch is 305 feet (93 m) above mean low-water mark.
  • The statue is made of copper, which was hammered into 300 sheets that were then welded together.
  • The statue's face is modeled after the sculptor's mother, Charlotte Bartholdi.
  • The statue's torch was originally lit by gas, but it was converted to electric light in 1916.
  • The Statue of Liberty was designated a National Monument in 1924.
  • The statue is currently managed by the National Park Service.


The Statue of Liberty stands as a testament to the enduring ideals of freedom and democracy. Its construction, spanning several years, involved the collaboration of visionaries, artists, and supporters from both France and the United States. Through this article, we will unravel the timeline of the statue's construction, from its conceptualization to its final completion. So, let's embark on a journey through history to discover when the Statue of Liberty was built and finished.

Call to action:

If you're interested in learning more about the Statue of Liberty, I encourage you to visit the National Park Service website. You can also visit the Statue of Liberty in person, which is a truly unforgettable experience.

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