Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday Mieography

This day is the fourth of July. To those of you across the pond, (with the exception of Holly) this may not mean much. But it is a day we celebrate our independence. Our growing up, and cutting the apron strings from the "mother country. Stopped making tea properly. Forgot what scones were and started calling biscuits cookies.

Any how.

any old how.

Here she is. My girl friday. The Statue of Liberty. I thought she would be a good one to look at, today. Our independence day.

France, back when they liked us, wanted to give us a gift to mark the Centennial of the Declaration of Independence. They commissioned a sculptor, Frederic Bartholdi, to make the gift. He built the first model, on a small scale, in 1970. )this one now stands in the Jardin du Luxembourg, in Paris.)
Bartholdi went on a visit, to Egypt, and got inspired by the Suez canal. While there, he got a grand idea to build a light house for the entrance of said canal. Unfortunately, his plan never came to commission, because the Egyptian government could not afford his work. So he transferred his grand plan to this particular statue.
It was agreed she would be a joint effort, with the Americans responsible for the base, and the French people responsible for the statue, and it's assembly. The french had to raise $250,000 (much money for that era) to uphold their end of this deal.
Bartholdi required the assistance of an engineer to address the structural issues related to building such a massive, copper sculpture. Gustave Eiffel was commissioned to design the rather large iron pylons and the secondary skeletal frame work needed. However, he had a 'side kick', a structuran enineer name Maurice Koechin, whom he delegated the dtail work to.
The original plan was to finish and present the statue to the US on July 4, 1876, but a late start, and delays prevented this. By that time only the right arm and torch were completed. THese were displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where visitors were charged 50 cents to climb the ladder to the balcony. The money from this was used to start funding the pedestal.
By June 30, 1878, at the Paris Exposition, the completed head of the statue was displayed in the garden of the Trocadero palace, and other pieces were on display in the Champs de Mars.
In the US, a site was selected to display the statue, in the New York Harbor. The island, at that time was known as Bedloe's Island.
In February of 1879, Bartholdi was was granted a US patent on "a statue representing Liberty enlightening the world, the same consisting, essentially, of the draped female figure, with one arm upraised, bearing a torch and while the other holds and inscribed tablet, and having upon the head a diadem, substantially set forth". The patient was VERY specific as to how she should look. The financing for the statue was finally completed in 1882.
THe fund raising for the pedestal was taking longer, however, until Joseph Pulitzer (of the Pulitzer Prize) took matters in hand. With his help, and the help of Senator Evarts and the American Committee, the rest of the funds for the pedestal were gathered.
THe construction of the statue was completed in France, in July of 1884. THe cornerstones of the pedestal were laid in August of 1884. She arrived in New York harbor on June 17, 1885, on board the french frigate, Isere. She was reduced to 350 pieces packed in to 214 crates. It was stored for eleven months, waiting for its pedestal to be completed. It took four months to assemble. On Ocober 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was unveiled by President Grover Cleveland. She functioned as a lighthouse from 1886 to 1902.
THere are 354 steps inside the statue, and it's pedestal. There are 25 windows in the crown, and the tablet in her hands reads, in Roman Numerals, July 4, 1776".
A new torch has replaced the original, which was deemed beyond repair due to exptensive modifications in 1916. The original torch is now in the monument's lobby museum.
The interior of the pedestal contains a bronze plaque that bears the poem "The New Colossus", by Emma Lazarus.
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 the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Daryl said...

Brilliant choice!


sybil law said...

Awesome. The Statue of Liberty really is super impressive, and that poem is beautiful.
Happy 4th!

holly said...

i think it's wrong that my husband is an american studies lecturer (he's actually *in charge* of american studies at the university) and he's not been to see it.



happy 4th!

one firework for me, please.

oh - funny thing today at work. we sit next to the comms department, who publish a twice daily news report. i was asked if i celebrate it; was it important to me. everyone looked at me. i said "oh - uh, yeah! i am going to be praying every hour on the hour thanks to god that i am free of british tyranny! join me?"

after the giggles died down, she (asker) included a "happy 4th of july wish" to me (and the other american chick downstairs) as the intro to the day's report. niiice.