The Statue of Liberty Opened 137 Years Ago Today

Wikimedia Commons
Lady Liberty's face under construction
With most people's minds on the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy (which comes tomorrow), we can be forgiven for overlooking more obscure moments in New York's history. Turns out, today is the anniversary of a long-forgotten event that altered the image of the city forever: On this day in 1886, the Statue of Liberty opened its doors. To commemorate the birth of our favorite 150-foot-tall turquoise lady, Runnin' Scared has collected some images from the statue's construction 137 years ago.

As the story goes, the statue was not built in New York but in Paris, designed by French architect Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi as a gift to the American people. He enlisted the help of Gustave Eiffel and others to build the statue in France, while his American counterparts were responsible for finishing the pedestal on Liberty Island. All told, it took 11 years to complete and open the statue; the head and torch-bearing arm existed for over a decade before the statue was fully assembled and dedicated.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons
The head on display in Paris, 1878.

Wikimedia Commons
Assembling the face in Paris.

On the next page: The statue's groundbreaking ceremony is front-page news in 1881.

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