On this day in 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor from France. It came in 350 pieces packed into over 200 cases.
According to legend, the Statue of Liberty came to sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi as a vision: sailing into New York Harbor in 1870, the French artist suddenly imaged the persona of liberty welcoming him. He sketched out his idea and immediately began pitching it to influential New Yorkers and his powerful countrymen. Though the New Yorkers saw him as a dreamer, the French saw him as someone with a perfect idea for a 100th birthday present for the United States.
When 1876 rolled around, however, Lady Liberty still a work in progress. Bartholdi sent her hand and torch to be displayed at the Philadelphia Exposition, while he and Gustave Eiffel (as in the Eiffel Tower) worked on engineering the rest of her. He finished the job in 1884 and displayed it in Paris while the U.S. readied the pedestal. Then, as TIME recounted in 1936, it was time to bring…
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