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130 years since Liberty arrived

The gift between France and USA was shipped over in 200 crates where it was welcomed by crowds and artillery fire

JUNE 17 marks the 130th anniversary of the arrival of the first pieces of the Statue of Liberty in New York.

The project was first proposed by French MP Edouard Laboulaye in 1865 and enlisted the help of his friend the sculptor Auguste Bartholdi to design the piece.

Its creation took from 1875 to 1884, while Liberty’s head was put on display during the World Exhibition in Paris in 1878.

While the French spent years raising funds for the project through galas, visitors’ fees and more, the Americans made no progress on sorting out a pedestal for Liberty once she arrived.

As the US government debated whether or not the project was a private venture that did not deserve funding, the newspaper owner Joseph Pulitzer stepped in with a huge, successful, fundraising drive in 1885 – as the statue was being dismantled ready for shipping.

A team of 12 workers took three months to dismantle the statue, number the parts and place it into 200 containers. The same workers then crossed the Atlantic to rebuild the statue on its new island home.

They arrived on June 17, 1885 to the sound of artillery fire and a large gathering on the quay sides.

However the reconstruction was delayed while the Americans built the pedestal and the statue was not finally dedicated until October 28, 1886.

Photo: The head of the statue on display at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1878

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