William Russell Grace from Ballylinan, Co Laois, Ireland was mayor of New York when the Statue of Liberty arrived in the city from France in 1885. It was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States of America. The Statue of Liberty is now a national Monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a popular tourist site attracting over 3 million visitors annually and is one of America’s most famous landmarks.
In 1865 the French poet, author and politician Edouard de Laboulaye proposed a monument for the United States to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a suitable sculpture. Following a trip to America and discussions with individuals in America and France the idea of the Statue of Liberty was conceived
It was agreed that the cost of building the statue would be borne by the French and the Americans would build the pedestal. Funds for the project were raised through lotteries, exhibitions and other events in both countries. Construction of the statue began in 1875. The metallic skeleton which supports the copper exterior of the statue was designed by French engineer Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) who later built the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City aboard the French ship Isere on June 17th 1885. It took four months to assemble and erect the statue which had been shipped from France as 350 individual pieces. It was erected on the pedestal which had been prepared by the Americans on what is now called Liberty Island in New York harbour.
The site for the Statue of Liberty was originally suggested by Bartholdi having noted during his visit that ships arriving in New York had to sail past it. Ellis Island, the main immigration station in America, opened in 1892. During the following sixty years millions of people, many of them Irish, sailed past the statue on their way to Ellis Island and a new life in America.
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated at a ceremony presided over by Grover Cleveland, President of the United states of America, in the year 1886 On This Day.
Statue of Liberty by Sue Waters on 2012-07-06 14:38:57
Building the Statue of Liberty by pbump on 2013-03-16 11:31:43
Grace family mausoleum, Sacred Heart Church, Arles, Co Laois, Ireland