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Statue of Liberty

Structural Improvements

By Benjamin Levine and Isabelle F. Story
National Park Service, 1961

This Web Version
GET NJ COPYRIGHT 2003

In 1937, it was discovered that certain platforms and stairways in the pedestal of the statue would have to be replaced. At that time also engineers made a thorough inspection of the framework and copper on the statue from the torch to the beams on which the structure rests. The spikes were removed from the crown of the head and rebuilt with new iron frames. Supporting ironwork was replaced where sections of it had rusted, and rivets which had loosened were removed and replaced by new ones. No change was made in the spiral stairway in the statue.

Another recent improvement to the monument was the completion, in the autumn of 1949, of the installation of a heating system in the base of the statue. Prior to this improvement, during the winter the huge mass of stone, concrete, and earth (estimated at 48,000 tons) became progressively chilled and was at its coldest during March when the air outside became warmer. The moist air coming off the water became condensed and saturated the walls. Condensation of moisture inside the pedestal, which had caused deterioration of the structure and its fixtures, has been eliminated by the new heating system, which also adds to the comfort of visitors and employees.

Time has also improved the physical appearance of the statue. The former shiny copper exterior has been coated with an attractive patina of light-green verdigris which not only protects the metal from the effect of wind and rain but also enhances the beauty and dignity of the statue.

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