Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Elyse. Elyse Wonders, “Why is the Statue of Liberty green?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Elyse!

During the Revolutionary War, France and America became good friends because they both wanted to be free from Great Britain. To show their friendship, France gave the U.S. a special gift called “Liberty Enlightening the World.” It was designed by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi. The Statue of Liberty, as it came to be known, arrived in New York Harbor in 1885 in 350 pieces packed into 214 crates. It was put together on a special base built by the U.S. The statue is a symbol of freedom and democracy all around the world.

The Statue of Liberty’s home is Bedloe’s Island (renamed Liberty Island in 1956). From 1892 to 1943, “Lady Liberty” greeted over 12 million immigrants as they arrived on boats at the nearby Ellis Island Immigration Station.

The base of the statue has words from poet Emma Lazarus that reflect immigrants’ hopes and dreams for freedom in America:

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-tost to me.

Lady Liberty represents a Roman goddess named Libertas. She stands with a torch and a tablet with the date of the Declaration of Independence on it.

The statue was made in France out of copper sheets and steel supports. Gustave Eiffel designed the inner framework that lets the statue move with the wind and temperature changes. Visitors can climb up stairs inside to look out from the crown. Eiffel later used the same design on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The copper on the statue is very thin—only as thick as two pennies together—but it’s still very strong. The amount of copper in the statue could make 30 million pennies! The statue used to be brown, but it slowly turned green.

What happened? Was it magic? Nope! A natural process called oxidation happened. The green color protects the copper from more damage. It is called a patina.

Here are some fun facts about Lady Liberty that you might not know:

  • It’s 151 feet tall. 

  • It contains 62,000 pounds of copper and 250,000 pounds of steel. 

  • The pedestal weighs 54 million pounds! 

  • The statue can sway in the wind and the top of the torch can move up to six inches. 

  • The crown has seven points to represent the seven seas and continents.

Have you ever seen the Statue of Liberty in person? What about in a picture or online? What do you think this statue means to people?

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is brought to you by the letters A, B, and O!