Today in 1886, the U.S. dedicated the Statue of Liberty in New York.
Today she’s the most popular giant green lady this side of She-Hulk, but it was hard times for the statue before she took her place on Liberty Island.
Thankfully, a 19th century version of crowdfunding got Lady Liberty in place.
The statue was actually intended to come to the U.S. much earlier than it did.
A French abolitionist had dreamed it up two decades earlier, around the end of the American Civil War.
But, of course, big statues take time to build and to fund.
Plus, France was going through some political turmoil during this time too.
Eventually the country agreed to finance the actual statue as long as the U.S. paid for the pedestal that would hold her in place.
But that hadn’t happened by the time the statue arrived in HOW MANY pieces in June of 1885.
Despite numerous public events, performances and auctions to raise money for the pedestal fund, the American Committee for the Statue of Liberty ran out of money.
So the publisher of the New York World, Joseph Pulitzer, encouraged his readers to give what they could to pay for the pedestal work.
The statue, he wrote, was a gift for everyone, so everyone should help put it in place.
Also, he offered a thank you gift: anyone who gave would get their name in the newspaper.
That raised over $100,000 dollars, much of it in small donations, and, next time you’re in New York you can see what came next.
If you think about it, the Statue of Liberty was large metal pieces that combined to form one giant figure.
And here’s one more twist in the story.
The Statue of Liberty was made in France and sent to the US to commemorate the American Revolution.
In Paris, there’s a replica of the statue on an island in the middle of the river Seine.
That was a gift in 1889 from Americans living in Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.
I think that makes this all come full circle.
How crowdfunding brought the Statue of Liberty to America (Christian Science Monitor)
Statue of Liberty, Pont de Grenelle (Atlas Obscura)
We raise our golden lamp high in honor of our Patreon backers