Timeline: Statue of Liberty

Some important dates in the history of the Statue of Liberty:

—1865: French politician Edouard de Laboulaye (search) proposes construction of a monument, to be presented by France to the United States, honoring the upcoming centennial of American independence. Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (search) embraces the idea.

—1871: Bartholdi conceives idea of statue in New York Harbor.

—1875: Bartholdi completes first plaster model; and work begins on actual sculpture.

—1876: Right arm and torch are exhibited at Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

—1877: Congress accepts gift. Bedloe's Island designated as site.

—1881: French raise $400,000 to build statue, but American fund-raising effort to build pedestal and foundation draws little interest.

—1883: Ground is broken for pedestal. Poet Emma Lazarus (search) publishes "The New Colossus," with the famous line, "Give me your tired, your poor ...," as part of fund-raising effort.

—1884: Statue is completed in Paris, officially presented to the United States and then shipped across the Atlantic in 210 crates.

—1885: Joseph Pulitzer's New York World spearheads campaign to build pedestal, raises $100,000.

—1886: Statue is dedicated, Oct. 28.

—1916: Statue's flame is resculpted. Stairway in arm is closed after German saboteurs set explosion at munitions plant in nearby Jersey City, N.J., and 100 rivets pop out of right arm.

—1924: Statue declared a national monument.

—1936: Statue restored and rededicated on 50th anniversary.

—1944: Torch, darkened during war, is relit for 15 minutes on D-Day.

—1956: Bedloe's Island is renamed Liberty Island.

—1980: Bomb explodes in base of statue, and Croatian Freedom Fighters claim responsibility. Protestors climb statue and unfurl banner to demand freedom for imprisoned Black Panther, damaging statue's skin. Experts called in find that statue is in poor condition because of years of corrosion.

—1982: President Reagan forms Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Centennial Commission.

—1984: Work begins on a two-year, $70 million renovation of statue. Statue is closed to the public.

—1986: Work on statue completed; it is relit by President Reagan and reopened to the public during Liberty Weekend, July 3-7.

—2001: Statue closed after Sept. 11 attacks. Liberty Island reopens 100 days later, with visitors screened before boarding ferry in Manhattan.

—Aug. 3, 2004: Statue's pedestal reopened to public.