The Statue of Liberty is one of 20 World Heritage Sites located in the USA, and 878 total across the world. Find out the history and facts of this American icon.
On some days, the Statue of Liberty can be seen for several miles in and around New York Harbor. Since the late 1800s, Lady Liberty has faced Southeast in order to greet those who seek refuge in the “New World.” Today, she still lifts her “lamp beside the golden door.”
History of the World Heritage Sites List
In November of 1945, the United Nations formed the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (or UNESCO.) UNESCO runs the World Heritage Sites list through a set of criteria that helps establish and represent works of historic cultural sites of significance as well as natural sites of significance. As of May 2009, there are 878 natural, cultural and mixed (both natural and cultural) sites on the World Heritage Sites list.
In 1984, the Statue of Liberty joined the ranks and became listed as one of the World Heritage Sites. Located in New York City, New York; the Statue of Liberty is one of 20 World Heritage Sites located in the United States.
History of the Statue of Liberty
Lady Liberty was created in Paris by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, a French famed sculptor; and Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame. In 885, the monument was shipped via 214 crates to the United States as a gift from the people of France. Assembly of the Statue of Liberty was created a year later in 1886 — just in time to commemorate 100 years of American independence.
In 1986, the original torch of the Statue of Liberty was replaced. The new torch is composed of the same copper shell but now features a 24 karat gold flame. The new torch reflects sunlight during the day for a more “fire-like” torch appearance, and floodlights are used at night to give the same “fire-like” appearance. Visitors can still see the original torch in the lobby.
Statue of Liberty Facts
- Concrete foundation weighs approximately 54 million pounds.
- Steel frame weighs approximately 250,000 pounds (or 125 tons.)
- Copper shell of the statue weighs approximately 62,000 pounds (or 32 tons.)
- Lady Liberty stands at 151 feet in overall height.
- The seven rays of the crown represent the seven continents and seven seas of the world.
- The copper shell is only 3/32 of an inch, which is as thick as 2 pennies.
The New Colossus
The sonnet by Emma Lazarus was written in 1883 and has become synonymous with the Statue of Liberty. It reads as follows:
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
is in the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Today, the Statue of Liberty stands as a symbol of freedom for immigrants who enter the United States daily.