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A Timeline Of Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty - A Brief History



Isaac Bedloe, a Dutch colonist, obtains a colonial land grant for this Oyster Island. It was later sold to New York City and was ultimately designated as the site for the Statue of Liberty.


After the events of the American Revolution, and the rising tensions between the United States, England, and France, federal dollars are appropriated to construct fortifications on Bedloe's Island.


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The United States Army administers Bedloe's Island as a military post until 1937.



Edouard de Laboulaye, a French political intellectual and authority on the U.S. Constitution, proposes that France give a statue representing liberty to the United States for its centennial. The recent Union victory in the American Civil War reaffirms the United States' ideals of freedom and democracy, serving as a platform for Laboulaye to argue that honoring the United States would strengthen the cause for democracy in France.




Auguste Bartholdi, a young sculptor fascinated with the idea of creating colossal works, enthusiastically supports Laboulaye's proposed statue and becomes the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty.



New York World publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, comes to the Statue's financial rescue with a highly successful, six-month fund raising campaign. Over $100,000 is raised. The Statue is disassembled in Paris and shipped to the United States aboard the French navy ship the Isère. It arrives in New York Harbor on June 17th. The Statue is met with tremendous fanfare and a naval parade, but is placed in storage for a year while the pedestal is completed.





The Statue's pedestal is completed and the difficult and dangerous task of reassembling the Statue on Bedloe's Island begins. The crews, most of whom are immigrants, assemble the Statue with great precision and speed. The decision is made to light the Statue's torch electrically. The Army Corps of Engineers vetos putting flood lights on the torch's balcony so Bartholdi cuts portholes in the torch and put lights inside of them.

  • October 10th - President Grover Cleveland places the Statue and pedestal under the administration of the U.S. Lighthouse Board as maritime structures.
  • October 23rd - The Statue of Liberty is completed.
  • Oct 28th -The Statue is formally unveiled at the dedication ceremony on Bedloe's Island. Although the weather is wet and foggy, one million people turn out for NYC's first ticker tape parade.
  • November 1st - The fireworks display and illumination of the Statue of Liberty, cancelled on October 28 due to inclement weather, takes place.


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Words from Emma Lazarus' poem "The New Colossus" are inscribed on a plaque and mounted to the base of the Statue.



Bedloe's Island is renamed Liberty Island by a joint resolution in Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.




May 11th - President Johnson signs a Presidential Proclamation, adding Ellis Island to the National Park Service, under the administration of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.



President Ronald Reagan appoints Lee Iacocca to head a private foundation to restore the Statue of Liberty.




Restoration of the Statue begins. This work is carried out through a collaboration between the National Park Service and the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation. Changes include the replacement of the rusted iron armature bars with stainless steel bars; the removal of multiple coatings from the interior copper skin; and the construction of a new torch covered with gold leaf. July 4th – The original torch is removed.



Renovation work is completed on the Statue.

  • July 4th -The United States joyfully celebrates Liberty Weekend, when President Ronald Reagan relit the Statue’s Torch. Also in attendance was French President Francois Mitterand.
  • July 5th - The Statue of Liberty National Monument re-opens, including a new Statue of Liberty Museum in the pedestal.
  • October 28th - The centennial of the Statue of Liberty is officially celebrated.


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August 3rd -The inside of the pedestal reopens to the public after having been closed since September 11, 2001, following work undertaken by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and the National Park Service.

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