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Frédéric-Auguste BARTHOLDI
1886 - LIBERTY'S LIGHT. The Great Torch of the Goddess We Love. Imposing Ceremonies Attending the Unveiling of the Bartholdi Statue on Liberty Island.

The Colossal Gift of a Sister Republic Gracefully Accepted by an Appreciative People.

The Metropolis of the Nation Overwhelmed by Throngs of Visitors.

A Mammoth Parade Reviewed by the President and His Cabinet and Our French Guests.

The Grand Naval Procession - Ceremonies at the Statue - Liberty Unveiled - Grand Pyrotechnic Display

NEW YORK, Oct. 28., - The rain, which fell almost continuously for thirty-six hours, did not cease until about daylight this morning. The sky did not clear, however, and the thousands of anxious sightseers who began to pour into the streets at an early hour met a damp, foggy atmosphere, which threatened a renewal of rain at any moment. Between eight and nine o'clock all thoroughfares showed signs of unusual activity. All trains were crowded to their utmost capacity with people trying to view the grand procession.

French and American flags are flying from house tops and windows in every direction and a general holiday appearance is presented by moving bodies of soldiers, militia, civic organizations, and by the collection on the sidewalks of great crowds of people. Business during the day will be almost entirely suspended, the public schools will be closed and all New York will join in the celebration. Visitors from all sections of the country have been coming into the city for two days past, and this morning thousands more were added to the great throng, the prospects of unpleasant weather in no way deterring them.

After passing through Madison Square the column moved on down Fifth Avenue to Washington Square, where it turned into Broadway, thence down Broadway to the open space behind the post-office, called Mall street, into Park Row under the triumphal arch in front of the WORLD office, and back into Broadway. This detour was more in order to pay a compliment to the enterprise of the WORLD, in raising the sum necessary for raising Barhtoldi's great work.

From Park Row the route was again down Broadway to Courtlandt street and Maiden Lane, where most of the military, turning to right or left, made their way to the river.

The storm greatly interfered with the work on Bedloe's Island yesterday, but as little was left to do, it did not matter very much whether it rained or not. The workmen tore down the old, narrow steps that led up the embankment and replaced them with a wider and mores substantial stairway. They also laid a broad wooden walk leading to the ground entrance to the front of the fort. The platform that has stood in one of the northwestern angles of the inclosure was removed and the platform for the speakers made ready for their reception. A handsome silk French flag will be placed of the face of the statue. At a word from President Cleveland it will be drawn, unveiling the head of the goddess.

In the vicinity of Fifth avenue and Fifty-seventh street, the point at which the procession was to form, all was bustls and commotion as early as eight o'clock. Civic and military companies arrived faster than they could be assigned to their proper places.

A few minutes past ten o'clock the head of the column began to move down Fifth avenue, led by the Fifth United States Artillery and Military Band. Then followed the United States Naval brigade, United States Army brigade, Second regiment New Jersey National Guard and a detachment of Massachusetts volunteer militia. These composed the first division.

The second division was led by Gilmore's famous band. Then followed the First Brigade, N.G.S. N.Y., acting as escort to the French column. The French column contained the Societe Colmarienne; Union Alsacienne; Societe Alsace-Loraine; Mardi Gras Association; Societe De Philanthropic; Union Chorale De Newarks; Union Francaise, of Elizabeth; Le Prevyame, of Boston; L'Anutie, of New York; Le Societe Culinaire Cosmopolite; L'Helvetienne; L'Alliance and L'Union Fraternelle.

Then came another fine band of music, which was followed by nearly a dozen more French societies. Behind the Frenchmen came United States Judges and other high officials of the United States in carriages, and Governors of States and Territories and other high dignitaries, also in carriages, who brought up the rear of the second division.

The third division was headed by Sheriff Grant as marshal, and was comprise of mayors of cities; a battalion of Philadelphia police; Brooklyn police; veterans of the war of 1812; veterans of the Mexican war, and the military order of the Loyal Legion.

The fourth, fifth and sixth divisions were composed of military organizations. Then came the educational division; then more military; Washington's carriage, drawn by nine horses, escorted by the Continental Guard of Washington, and the old Washington Continental Guard, mounted. Firemen, Knights of Pythias and other organizations helped to make up the other four divisions.

As this brilliant column passed down Fifth avenue it was received by the enormous crowds, which flanked it on either side with mighty cheers.

As the procession approached the reviewing stand at Madison Square, where President Cleveland and members of his Cabinet were waiting, a slight drizzle of rain began falling, not enough, however, to disturb the crowd or spoil the spectacle.

The head of the procession reached the City Hall at noon. At the same time, whenever the music of bands ceased, the chimes of Trinity Church could be heard playing National airs of France and America.

President Cleveland, accompanied by Secretary Bayard, drove to the reviewing stand at Madison square. He was fellowed by Secretaries Whitene, Vilas and Lamar and Colonel Lamont.

Considering the festive nature of the day, the decorations upon houses along the line of march were very meager. This lack of display, however, can be accounted for by the inclemency of the weather for the past two days. The only really handsomely decorated building is the City Hall.

After leaving Broadway at Cortlandt street and Maiden Lane, nearly all the military and civic companies made their way homeward.

At this hour (1:16 p.m.), the procession is still wending its way past the United Press office, 187 Broadway, having been over an hour in progress.

All the vessels in North river are gaily decorated with flags, the Great Atlantic liners being particularly noticeable as they lay at their docks, one mass of color aloft.

The naval parade, which forms another marked feature of the day, was set for one o'clock. The sound of the preparatory gun, which should have been fired at 12:45 p.m., was not heard until one o'clock as there was considerable delay in getting the vessels which were to take part into line. Twenty minutes later the signal for the start was given, and the vessels moved slowly in double line from Forty-fifth street down North river, past a fleet of war vessels, toward Liberty Island. This procession was in charge of Lieutenant-Commander Rich, and consisted of two divisions. The first division was headed by the United States coast survey steamer Gedney, and consisted of all the larger vessels. The second divisions consisted of tugs and miscellaneous craft of all descriptions. The vessels presented a beautiful sight as they steamed down the Hudson. On reaching Liberty Island, they passed astern of the man-of-war anchored below the island then up between them and the island, till they came abreast of the statue head on tide, where they remained at anchor until the end of the ceremonies at that point.

The crowd in Madison Square when the President reached the reviewing stand was vast; the streets were choked up and Broadway was clogged with vehicles and cars above and below the intersection of the line of march. When Governor Hill mounted the platform he was cheered, but when Bartholdi, the sculptor, appeared and was easily recognized by the mass, who had seen his portrait on programmes and in the illustrated papers, a shout went up from those nearest the stand. The cry of "Bartholdi" was then caught up by both the reviewing an grand stands. The crowds on the avenue curbings up and won heard the name and passed it to the people in the park and side streets until the heavy air was shaken with a roar of cheering that must have gladdened the heart of the Alsatian, who bowed his acknowledgements. And then, in carriages driven to the rear of the stand, came Mr. Cleveland and his party. Instantly he was recognized, and again the crowds shook the welkin with their shouts, and from the housetops and windows of hotels came shouts and sounds of clapping hands to swell the sound that like a wave broke over the park and flowed down the streets and along the avenue, where, in the misty distance, the trappings and pomp of the head of the column was seen moving. The Signal Service operator at the Twenty-eighth Street station made known the fact to the throngs by waving a flag, and the pressure increased toward the avenue and the people became packed more closely if it were possible.

On the reviewing stand President Cleveland was presented with three handsome baskets of flowers, the gifts of young ladies in the city. As the various military and civic organizations passed they saluted by presenting their colors, and the President responded by lifting his hat. Nearly every band in passing played the "Marseillaise," the French national hymn. As soon as the procession had passed President Cleveland and party were driven to the North river, and were taken on board of the United States steamer Dispatch.

A grand stand was erected in front of the pedestal of the statue, which with the surrounding ramparts, was crowded with invited guests. The speakers stood on a raised platform facing the statue. The oration was delivered by Mr. Chauncey, M. Depew, and the address of the presentation of the statue on behalf of the American committee was made by Wm. M. Evarts, president of the committee. President Cleveland then responded, officially receiving the completed statue, after which speeches were made by M. Bartholdi and delegates from the French Republic. As Mr. Evarts concluded his address the flag enshrouding the great statue was drawn aside; a salute was fired from the fleet of war vessels. The entire statue, the pedestal and the fortifications of the island were elaborately decorated and draped with French and American flags.

At the conclusion of the ceremonies of unveiling at the base of the statue, a National salute was fired from the men-of-war and from all the forts in the harbor. A battery of six guns was fired from the ramparts in front of the pedestal, and the whole harbor resounded with reports of cannon. During the firing the guests embarked and the flotilla again formed in line and returned in double column to the city, headed by the United States steamer Dispatch.

The closing ceremonies in the evening were a magnificent display of fireworks by James Payn, given on Liberty and Governor's islands, together with a grand illumination of French and American men-of-war. The pyrotechnic displays were the most wonderful and elaborate that have ever been witnessed in this country. The funds for the fireworks had been generously provided through the patriotic efforts of Mr. Henry Clews and E. B. Harper, Roswell P. Flower, Cooper & Hewitt, D. Willis, James Cash, Levi P. Morton, W. E. Conner & Co., S. V. White, Cyrus W. Field, Tiffany & Co., Joseph W. Drexel, C.N. Bliss, Wm. Rockefeller, Wm. H. Webb and Thurber, Whyland & Co. The failure of Congress to provide money for a fitting display of fireworks on the occasion of the unveiling of the great statue led Mr. Clews and the other gentlemen named to agree to furnish the necessary money provided the displays be given by James Pain, of Manhattan Beach, under the direction of the New York World. When Mr. Pain was spoken to in regard to the matter he generously offered to double whatever sum was raised by the patriotic friends of the statue and give a programme that would fully realize their expectations. The ground had been gone over by an agent of Mr. Pain and no trouble or expense was spared to make the displays the grandest ever witnessed in this country. The vast materials for the fireworks had been specially prepared for this occasion by Mr. Pain, and several new effects in pyrotechnics were introduced. The displays were begun with the lighting of the great torch for the first time, and were given simultaneously on Liberty and Governor's islands, including some sixty separate pyrotechnic pieces. With slight variations the fireworks were the same on Liberty island and in front of old Castle William, on Governor's island, and were set off by maroon signals from the statue. The displays were largely aerial and were visible from all parts of the harbor, although the best positions were the Battery and Brooklyn Bridge, or from the decks of excursion steamers midway between the two islands. The war ships were anchored about Liberty Island, the French men-of-war on the north and the American squadron on the south side, toward Staten Island. The yards and rigging were manned by sailors, and the marines were drawn up on the decks along the bulwarks. Brilliant calcium lights burned from the extremities of the yards and fore and aft on deck, while the men stationed in the rigging and along the decks were supplied with colored [illegible]. The displays on the men-of-war took place at intervals.

General Schofield had given orders for a file of one hundred soldiers to be drawn up at intervals of a few yards along the water front facing the Battery. They were supplied with torches filled with colored lights, and at a signal from the statue on Liberty Island they were all lighted. The torches were so arranged that the French colors were given first, followed by the red, white and blue of the American ensign. This charged of national colors was repeated several times and ended up a variegated display of colored fires.

After this the salute given by the Board of Aldermen was fired at the Battery.

The famous statue, by Bartholdi, of "Liberty Enlightening the World" was received at New York, June 29, 1885.

The French vessel Isere, with the statue on board, was escorted up the bay to Bedloe's Island by a number of United States men-of-war and other vessels. The statue stands on Bedloe's Island - hereafter to be known as Liberty Island. At the entrance to New York harbor. Bartholdi, it is said, conceived the idea of creating a colossal statue to symbolize American's message of liberty to the world while sailing up New York bay on his visit to this country in 1871, with heart depressed at the ruin and wretchedness in his native land after her defeat by Germany. On his return to France he suggested to his friends his idea of such a statue to be presented by the French nation to the United States. The idea was received with great favor, and so rapidly did subscriptions come in that in 1876, the sculptor began work on his great statue. M. Bartholdi supervised every step of the work which was not only a labor of many years, but one full of difficulty and detail. The first steps toward its construction were made in 1874, when the French-American union was established, a banquet given and an appeal made to the people of France. In 1876 the sculptor began actual work. First the artist made his model in clay, and when this was approved a plaster statue was made; in dimensions it was one-sixteenth the size of the intended statue. Another plaster statue four times as large as the first, and a third one, of the full dimensions of the finished work were made. The last model had to be made in sections, and a wooden frame-work was constructed on which the plaster was spread. When these sections were completed, wooden models were used, exact copies of the plaster in size and modeling. These were carefully cut out by hand, and in them were shaped the hammered brass work which forms the outside of the statue. Eighty-eight tons of brass were used in the statues, and the entire weight of the statues is 450,000 pounds.

In 1876 M. Bartholdi, with the extended right arm of the statue - the first part that was completed - came to America and placed the arm and torch in the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia, whence it was subsequently removed to Madison Square, New York. In February, 1877, Congress set apart Liberty Island for the statue, and a committee was chosen with William M. Evarts at its head. The face and head of the statue was completed in 1878, when it was placed in the French Exposition, and on July 7, 1880, the great figure was completed in Paris where it was temporarily put together the following year in the presence of the United States Minister and a gathering of prominent French people. This statue is a free gift of respect and good will from the people of France to those of America. On the tablet is the inscription, "4th of July, 1776." It may well rand with the wonders of the world, for in design and achievement it is a model of sublime conception notably wrought out. The pedestal on which the statue stands was built with funds raised in this country by private subscription...

The statue weights 450,060 pounds or 225 tons.

The bronze alone weighs 200,000 pounds.

Forty persons can stand comfortably in the head, and the torch will hold twelve people.

The total number of steps in the temporary staircase, which leads from the base of the foundation to the top of the torch is 402. From the ground to the top of the pedestal 195 steps. The number of steps in the statue from the pedestal to the head is 154, and the ladder leading up though the extended right arm has 51 rounds.

The Herald-Dispatch
Decatur, Illinois
October 30, 1886

Learn more about the life of flag photo of Frédéric-Auguste BARTHOLDI   Frédéric-Auguste BARTHOLDI.