On October 15, 1924, a Presidential Proclamation declared Fort Wood (and the Statue of Liberty within it) a National Monument which set the monument's boundary at the outer edge of Fort Wood. In 1933, the care and administration of the National Monument was transferred to the National Park Service. On September 7, 1937, jurisdiction was enlarged to encompass all of Bedloe's Island. In 1956 the island's name was changed to Liberty Island. In May of 1965, the park's boundaries expanded once again when Ellis Island was transferred to the National Park Service by President Lyndon B. Johnson and became part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. In May of 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Lee Iacocca to head up a private sector effort to restore the Statue of Liberty. Fundraising began for the $86 million restoration under a public/private partnership between the National Park Service and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., to date the most successful such partnership in American history.
In 1984, at the start of the Statue's restoration, the United Nations designated the Statue of Liberty as a World Heritage Site. The newly restored Statue opened to the public on July 5, 1986 during Liberty Weekend, which celebrated her centennial.
Although the park's increased popularity resulted in the annual park visitation to reach over 5 million, the tragedy of September 11, 2001 resulted in the closure of Liberty Island. The island re-opened after 100 days, however the Statue remained closed until August 3, 2004. Visitors presently have access to the Statue's pedestal observation deck, promenade, museum and areas of Fort Wood. Access to the crown of the Statue of Liberty and the copper structure itself remains closed.
Bartholdi incorporated many symbolic features to his colossus. There are 25 windows in the crown representing gemstones found on the earth and the heaven's rays shining over the world. The seven rays of the Statue's crown represent the seven seas and continents of the world. The tablet which the Statue holds in her left hand reads (in Roman numerals) "July 4th, 1776." the date of American Independence.
The copper used in creating the Statue weighs 62,000 pounds (31 tons). The total weight of steel in the Statue is 250,000 pounds (125 tons). The Statue's concrete foundation weighs 54 million pounds (27,000 tons). The copper sheeting of the Statue is 3/32 of an inch thick or 2.37mm (thickness of 2 pennies put together). Wind sway: winds of 50 miles per hour cause the Statue to sway 3 inches (7.62cm) and the torch sways 5 inches (12.70cm).
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On October 28th, 1886 the Statue of Liberty was inaugurated. President Grover Cleveland accepted the Statue on behalf of the United States. On October 28, 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt presided at the Statue's 50th anniversary and repeated President Cleveland's speech in part: " We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected."
The National Park Service, in conjunction with the Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW, celebrate the Statue of Liberty's anniversary each October 28th.
Last updated: February 26, 2015