The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886
Statue of Liberty
Lately the Statue of Liberty has been in the news and for this reason it is important that we as Freemansons fully understand the role we played in her creation and erection and how each of us should renew our vows to spread further the light of freedom truth, tolerance and justice which this statue symbolizes.
In the summer of 1865 a group of Frenchmen gathered to dicuss and acknowledge their friendship with America by presenting a fitting memorial. A young artist by the name of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi came up with the idea and during the construction collaborated with two French architects, Gustave Eiffel and Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. Interesting note Bartholdi was a member of Lodge Alsace Lorraine in Paris.
When completed the statue stood 151 feet high and remained in France until a pedestal was built. The pedestal was Americas responsibility and that fell to Richard M. Hunt who was the pricipal architect of the pedestal. For the laying of the cornestone for the pedestal William M. Evarts, the Chairman of the American Committee was in contact with the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York and requested a Masonic ceremony "appropriate to the occasion". It had been a tradition in America to have the cornerstones of all major public and private buildings consecrated with full Masonic rites. The ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone took place on August 5, 1884. In accordance with traditional ceremony the cornerstone was tested and being found sqaure, level and plumb the Deputy Grand Master completed the work by applying the mortar and having the stone lowered firmly in place. The Grand Master then struck three blows with the gavel and declared the stone duly laid. The elements of consecration, corn, wine and oil were next presented.
The Most Worshipful Grand Master William A. Brodie gave a brief talk at the ceremony. He posed the question: "Why call upon the Masonic Fraternity to lay the cornerstone of such a structure as is here erected" His answer which is as true today as it was then, was "No institution has done more to promote liberty and to free men from the trammels and chains of ignorance and tyranny than has Freemasonry"
Upon completion the pedestal stood some 89 feet high. Meanwhile in Paris the Statue of Liberty was dismantled packed in 214 cases loaded on a ship, spent a month at sea and arrived at Bedloe's Island in June 1885. It took 15 months to assemble the 225 tons of pure copper, steel and iron. On October 28, 1886 President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty as a gift from the people of France.
The Statue of Liberty stands 300 feet in the air and is situated at the entrance of New York harbour. Bedloe's Island was renamed Liberty Island in 1956.
Frederic Auguste Bartholdi