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  • New York, U.S.
    Saturday Dec 2, 1916

    Statue of Liberty

    Lighting the Statue

    New York, U.S.
    Saturday Dec 2, 1916

    In 1916, Ralph Pulitzer, who had succeeded his father Joseph as the publisher of the World, began a drive to raise $30,000 (equivalent to $705,000 in 2019) for an exterior lighting system to illuminate the statue at night. He claimed over 80,000 contributors but failed to reach the goal. The difference was quietly made up by a gift from a wealthy donor—a fact that was not revealed until 1936. An underwater power cable brought electricity from the mainland and floodlights were placed along the walls of Fort Wood. Gutzon Borglum, who later sculpted Mount Rushmore, redesigned the torch, replacing much of the original copper with stained glass. On December 2, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson pressed the telegraph key that turned on the lights, successfully illuminating the statue.




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