Vintage Photographs of the Status of Liberty Under Construction Circa 1880s

The Statue of Liberty is such a symbol of Americana, that often we forget it was cast, assembled and built in Paris years before it was disassembled, shipped across the Atlantic and dedicated to the United States as a gift from Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

There is a long and complicated story on how the statue came to be placed on Liberty Island, one best told whilst drunk.

Enjoy these amazing vintage photographs from the late 1870s through the 1890s showing various phases of Lady Liberty's construction.

The hand and torch of the Statue of Liberty on display at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, in Philadelphia, ten years before the rest of the statue was completed.
The hand and torch of the Statue of Liberty on display at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, in Philadelphia, ten years before the rest of the statue was completed.
Photo: Public Domain
Workmen constructing the Statue of Liberty in Bartholdi's Parisian warehouse workshop; first model; left hand; and quarter-size head-, ca. 1882.
Workmen constructing the Statue of Liberty in Bartholdi's Parisian warehouse workshop; first model; left hand; and quarter-size head-, ca. 1882.
Photo: Public Domain
Diagram of the dimensions of the Statue of Liberty, August 1883.
Diagram of the dimensions of the Statue of Liberty, August 1883.
Photo: Public Domain
The head of the Statue of Liberty on display in the garden at the Champ de Mars at the World's Fair in Paris to drum up support and contributions for the completion of the great project, 1878.
The head of the Statue of Liberty on display in the garden at the Champ de Mars at the World's Fair in Paris to drum up support and contributions for the completion of the great project, 1878.
Photo: Public Domain
View of portions of the Statue of Liberty during its construction in the workshop of French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (seen at left) in Paris circa 1880.
View of portions of the Statue of Liberty during its construction in the workshop of French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (seen at left) in Paris circa 1880.
Photo: Public Domain
Segments of the Statue of Liberty during its construction in the workshop of French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, in Paris circa 1880.
Segments of the Statue of Liberty during its construction in the workshop of French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, in Paris circa 1880.
Photo: Public Domain
The construction of the Statue of Liberty in Paris, before its journey to the United States, circa 1883.
The construction of the Statue of Liberty in Paris, before its journey to the United States, circa 1883.
Photo: Public Domain
The Statue of Liberty enclosed by scaffolding, while under construction, seen from the Rue de Chazelles, in Paris circa 1884.
The Statue of Liberty enclosed by scaffolding, while under construction, seen from the Rue de Chazelles, in Paris circa 1884.
Photo: Public Domain
The left hand of the Statue of Liberty under construction, circa 1884.
The left hand of the Statue of Liberty under construction, circa 1884.
Photo: Public Domain
The framework for the right arm of the Statue Of Liberty during construction in Paris, circa 1885.
The framework for the right arm of the Statue Of Liberty during construction in Paris, circa 1885.
Photo: Public Domain
The feet of the Statue of Liberty arrive on Liberty Island in 1885.
The feet of the Statue of Liberty arrive on Liberty Island in 1885.
Photo: Public Domain
Assemblage of the Statue of Liberty in Paris, showing the bottom half of the statue erect under scaffolding, the head and torch at its feet, 1883.
Assemblage of the Statue of Liberty in Paris, showing the bottom half of the statue erect under scaffolding, the head and torch at its feet, 1883.
Photo: Public Domain
Workers at the monument's base, 1884. The United States was responsible for building and funding the pedestal, which stands at 154 feet, just a few feet taller than the statue.
Workers at the monument's base, 1884. The United States was responsible for building and funding the pedestal, which stands at 154 feet, just a few feet taller than the statue.
Photo: Public Domain
Arrival in New York Harbor of the Statue of Liberty, 1885.
Arrival in New York Harbor of the Statue of Liberty, 1885.
Photo: Public Domain
Arrival in New York Harbor of the Statue of Liberty, 1885.
Arrival in New York Harbor of the Statue of Liberty, 1885.
Photo: Public Domain
The Statue of Liberty's face before it was installed, 1886.
The Statue of Liberty's face before it was installed, 1886.
Photo: Public Domain
Preparing the Statue of "liberty" on Bedloe's Island, for the formal unvailing [sic] on October 28th - Present condition of the work / from a sketch by a staff artist. 1886.
Preparing the Statue of "liberty" on Bedloe's Island, for the formal unvailing [sic] on October 28th - Present condition of the work / from a sketch by a staff artist. 1886.
Photo: Public Domain
Completing the torch, Statue of Liberty, ca. 1886.
Completing the torch, Statue of Liberty, ca. 1886.
Photo: Public Domain
Liberty enlightening the world--Inauguration of the Bartholdi Statue, Harbor of New York--Military and naval salute, the President's arrival at Liberty Island, ca. 1886.
Liberty enlightening the world--Inauguration of the Bartholdi Statue, Harbor of New York--Military and naval salute, the President's arrival at Liberty Island, ca. 1886.
Photo: Public Domain
Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor, ca. 1891.
Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor, ca. 1891.
Photo: Public Domain
Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, from the North, ca. 1891.
Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, from the North, ca. 1891.
Photo: Public Domain
The Statue of Liberty seen on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, about a decade after her arrival, in 1898.
The Statue of Liberty seen on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, about a decade after her arrival, in 1898.
Photo: Public Domain

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