5 Things You Didn't Know About The Statue of Liberty

On October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty, France's gift of friendship to the American people, in New York Harbor. To mark the anniversary of one of America's most recognizable landmarks, here are 5 fun facts you didn't know about the Statue of Liberty...

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The Statue Was Originally Designed To Stand In Egypt The Statue of Liberty was the idea of sculptor Frederic Bartholdi. He was inspired to create Lady Liberty after seeing the colossal statues in Luxor and intended for her to stand in Egypt. Bartholdi envisioned a colossal monument featuring a robe-clad woman representing Egypt to stand at Port Said, the city at the northern terminus of the canal in Egypt. Early models of the statue were called “Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia.” Egypt rejected the plan as too costly. Bartholdi eventually repurposed his concept into “Liberty Enlightening the World”—the official name for the statue that has been overlooking New York Harbor since 1886.

The Statue Was Modeled After An Actual Person It may come as a surprise to most people that Lady Liberty was modeled on a real person. Mental Floss points out that she was actually modeled on the mother of Frederic Bartholdi, the designer of the statue. Not to be neglected, Bartholdi’s wife posed for the arms and torso. The designer told French Senator Jules Bozerian that the statue was based on his mother, Charlotte, back in 1876. He invited the Senator into his box at the opera, where there was a pocket-sized version of the statue waiting for him. It was here that he revealed the inspiration behind the statue.

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Thomas Edison Had Plans To Make The Statue Talk When Thomas Edison introduced the phonograph to the public in 1878, he told the newspapers that he was designing a “monster disc” for the interior of the Statue of Liberty that would allow the statue to deliver speeches that could be heard up to the northern part of Manhattan and across the bay.

She Wasn’t Always Green The green hue of the Statue of Liberty is what makes her so instantly recognizable around the world. Interestingly, the statue wasn’t always green. Originally, she was actually a reddish color, similar to the color of a penny . So how did she get so green?  Over the years, the copper coating has formed a green veneer from its exposure to the air. The torch flame is the one exception because it is coated with gold leaf.

The Statue Almost Didn’t Make It To America It really is hard to imagine New York without Lady Liberty, which is one of its most iconic landmarks. That may have been the reality if the statue never made it to America, which was once a very real possibility. The statue was packed into 214 crates and shipped to the United States as a precious gift from France in 1885. The voyage took a full week longer than expected because of a storm that nearly caused the ship to sink.