There are several metal plaques on or near the Statue of Liberty. A plaque on the copper just under the figure’s feet declares that it is a colossal statue representing Liberty, designed by Bartholdi and built by the Paris firm of Gaget, Gauthier et Cie (Cie is the French abbreviation analogous to Co.) Another plaque declares the statue to be a gift from the people of the Republic of France that honors “the Alliance of the two Nations in achieving the Independence of the United States of America and attests their abiding friendship.” The New York committee made a plaque that commemorates the fundraising done to build the pedestal. The Freemasons put another plaque on the cornerstone.
Statue on Liberty Island in the Upper New York Bay, U.S., commemorating the friendship of the peoples of the United States and France. Standing 305 feet (93 metres) high including its pedestal, it represents a woman holding a torch in her raised right hand and a tablet bearing the adoption date of the Declaration of Independence in her left. The torch, which measures 29 feet (8.8 metres) from the flame tip to the bottom of the handle, is accessible via a 42-foot (12.8-metre) service ladder inside the arm. An elevator carries visitors to the observation deck in the pedestal, which may also be reached by stairway, and a spiral staircase leads to an observation platform in the figure’s crown. A plaque at the pedestal’s entrance is inscribed with a sonnet, “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus.
A group of five statues is at the western end of the island. They honor people involved in building the Statue of Liberty. The statues stand for two Americans—Pulitzer and Lazarus—and three Frenchmen—Bartholdi, Laboulaye, and Eiffel. The five statues were designed by Maryland sculptor Phillip Ratner.
The UNESCO “Statement of Significance” describes the statue as a “masterpiece of the human spirit” that “endures as a highly potent symbol—inspiring contemplation, debate and protest—of ideals such as liberty, peace, human rights, abolition of slavery, democracy and opportunity.
The statue is made of a covering of pure copper, left to weather to a natural blue-green patina. It has a framework of steel (originally puddled iron). The exception is the flame of the torch, which is coated in gold leaf (originally made of copper and later altered to hold glass panes). It is on a rectangular stonework pedestal. The foundation is an old star fort in the shape of an irregular eleven-pointed star. The statue is 151 ft (46 m) tall, but with the pedestal and foundation, it is 305 ft (93 m) tall.
Statue of Liberty: Assembly and Dedication
While work went on in France on the actual statue, fundraising efforts continued in the United States for the pedestal, including contests, benefits and exhibitions. Near the end, the leading New York newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer used his paper, the World, to raise the last necessary funds. Designed by the American architect Richard Morris Hunt, the statue’s pedestal was constructed inside the courtyard of Fort Wood, a fortress built and located on Bedloe’s Island, off the southern tip of Manhattan in Upper New York Bay.