A footnote from history by Stephanie Grace Whitson.
"...the ferry passes near Bledsoe's Island, soon to be graced by a very significant monument ... It's over three hundred feet high. Named 'Liberty Enlightening the World,' the figure of a woman holding high a lighted torch. They expect the light to be visible from fifty miles at sea."
Those are the words that introduced my imaginary friend Liberty Belle to Buffalo Bill's Wild West and her chance to ride in the parade the day the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York. The dedication included a parade, fireworks (which had to be postponed) and a speech by President Grover Cleveland.
Lady Liberty was the brainchild of French sculptor, Frederic August Bartholdi, who was inspired by an 1865 after-dinner conversation with another Frenchman who was a supporter of the Union during the American Civil War. That conversation introduced the idea that perhaps a joint project (between France and the United States) would inspire the French to champion democracy over the repressive regime of Napoleon III.
Creating the statue was slow going. Bartholdi would cross the Atlantic in search of a site in 1871, a year after creating his first working model. Eventually, it was decided that the French would finance the statue, while the U.S. would provide a site and pay for the pedestal. In 1876, the arm and torch were displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, moving to Madison Square Park in Manhattan until 1882. In 1878, the head was on view at the Paris World's Fair.
Fundraising was difficult and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. Joseph Pulitzer began a drive for donations and almost 120,000 responded ... with less than a dollar each. At last, Lady Liberty arrived ... in pieces. She was dedicated in 1886 and remains one of our most beloved landmarks.
Have you visited Liberty Enlightening the World?
What's your favorite U.S. landmark?
In Stephanie's novel Belle of the Wild West (previously published as Unbridled Dreams), a Nebraska gal gets a chance to live her dream, performing with Buffalo Bill's Wild West during the summer of 1886, when the Wild West camped on Staten Island. Performers (including Native Americans in full regalia) rode the ferry daily to reach the performance venue at Madison Square Gardens.
Watch for the announcement of this book's re-release (first time as an ebook!) by visiting Stephanie's Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieGraceWhitsonofficial/ or subscribe to receive book announcements at www.stephaniewhitson.com.