The Statue of Liberty enlightening the world is on Bedloe's Island, in the Upper Bay, 2 miles from the Battery. It is reached by steamboat, which leaves the Battery hourly, on the hour, and returns on the half-hour, from 9 A. M. to 5 P. M. One may obtain a satisfactory view of the exterior and return on the same boat, time from Battery and return three-quarters of an hour; if the ascent of the Statue is to be made, allow an hour and three-quarters.
The statue of liberty is the work of the eminent French sculptor, Auguste Bartholdi, who in 1865 conceived the idea of a fitting memorial to be given by the French people to the United States in commemoration of the long-established good will between the two nations. Coming to America upon this mission, Bartholdi was impressed by the eagerness with which the emigrants crowded to the rail to gaze upon the shores as the ship came up the bay, and his artist's eye recognized in Bedloe's Island the ideal site for the projected statue. Here, at the threshold of America, the Statue of Liberty should meet the expectant gaze of the newcomers, and uplift her lighted torch before them as an emblem of freedom and opportunity in the new world. The situation was well chosen. The colossal figure is an imposing object as seen not only from steamships coming up the harbor, but from ferryboat and bridge and rivers, and the encircling cities and hills and plains of New York and New Jersey.
The statue is justly admired for its majestic proportions and the benevolent calm of the countenance. It is said that Bartholdi modeled the figure from his mother. The tablet bears the date, "July 4, 1776."
The statue of liberty consists of a shell of repose copper (sheets of copper hammered into shape), riveted together and supported by an interior skeleton of iron, which was designed by the French engineer, Eiffel, who built the Eiffel Tower. Provision is made for the expansion and contraction caused by variations of heat and cold; and an asbestos packing is employed to insulate the copper from the iron and prevent the corrosion which would otherwise be caused by the action of electricity induced by the salt air. Holding her flaming torch 305 feet in air, Liberty is the greatest colossus in the world, and the pedestal rests securely upon a foundation which is a monolith of concrete reputed to be the largest artificial single stone in existence.
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