Why the Statue of Liberty’s Torch Is Off-Limits to Visitors

Ryan Socash of It’s History takes a wonderful look into the history of the Statue of Liberty and why her iconic torch is off-limits to visitors of any kind.

The story of Lady Liberty’s construction is an incredible tale of unity well before it even touched American soil.Even today, millions of visitors are attracted to its pedestal and take the steep climb from base to crown— the torch wasn’t always closed, however. In fact, up to 1916 visitors were able to enjoy a breathtaking view of the New York skyline from the torch’s balcony— but what could have caused such an incredible attraction to close?

Socash begins with the origins of what is now known as Liberty Island, why French artist Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi was inspired to create the Statue of Liberty, how the statue was transported to New York from France, and the ongoing war between New York and New Jersey about to whom she belongs. He also touches upon the Statue’s original color and why it is now bluish-green.

 She was a  beautiful rich red copper it wasn’t until 30 years later that the Statue of Liberty became a bluish  green color that most people associate her with. This came about as the result of several different  chemical reactions involving copper sulfur and  oxygen along with the varied pollution of man-made  emissions that came from the city air. this natural oxidation then caused the statue to change  from a shiny copper color to a deep dull brown and then finally a bluish green. 

He also talks about the number of times her torch has been re-designed and/ or closed to the public. The first time was in 1916.

On July the 30th, 1916 at approximately 2:08 a.m, a massive explosion at a munitions depot on the pier connecting Black Tom Island to New Jersey shook the harbor…the attack was later confirmed to be carried out  y a group of german agents and the explosion also damaged the Statue of Liberty’s torch and arm with flying shrapnel and from there on out  the torch was closed to the public…

The torch was closed permanently The damage done by the explosion along with many years of weather exposure caused the torch to completely fail by 1980.

By 1980, corrosion and leaks  from rain along with damage from the bombing had rendered the original torch damaged well  beyond repair it was removed from the statue on July the 4th 1984 and replaced with a gold-plated  replica that remained much more faithful to the  original version and design by the end of 1984  the old torch.

Now only a select few are allowed inside the crown to this day.

The only people who are allowed to access the 40-foot ladder up to the torch are the National Park  Service  staff members who routinely go up to maintain the balcony’s floodlights and are affectionately referred to by some as the keepers of the flame.  

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