By Michael Burch
Above is a picture of the original Stature of Liberty Arm and Torch as it was displayed during the 1876 Centennial Exhibition right here in Parkside, Fairmount Park Philadelphia. The Torch was on display to raise funds to complete the project.
With the Fourth of July just weeks away many people will be thinking about our country’s Independence from Great Britain some 240 years ago. About 100 years after that the French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi decided to commemorate America’s abolition of slavery and the Union victory in the Civil War, by sending a gift to America from the people of France. That gift of course was the Statue of Liberty. The statue represents the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas, and in her right hand she carries the famous Torch and holds the Tabula Ansata, or tablets which represent Law. Originally designers planned to have her hold a broken chain, but thought such a move would later prove to be problematic. A small chain was added to the feet in the final version of the statue.
Now resting on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, it stands as a beacon welcoming people to the shores of America. The Statue of Liberty is a national monument with a very local, Parkside beginning. The torch and arm of the statue were first displayed in America at the 1876 Centennial Exposition right here in Fairmount Park. The exhibit later went on to tour other parts of the country, to help raise funds for the project. Finally, the entire stature was assembled and dedicated in 1886 and it has been at station on Liberty Island ever since. Happy Birthday America!!