The Statue of Liberty’s Hand Sat in Madison Square Park For 6 Years



The tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to breathe free in America weren’t always greeted by Lady Liberty and a shining torch. For six years — from 1876 to 1882 — the Statue of Liberty’s disembodied hand sat in Madison Square park to raise money for the rest of the statue. The statue was intended to be a symbol of French and American friendship, so designer Frederic Bartholdi sent the Arm of Liberty to the U.S., while waiting for additional funds to send the complete statue. For a time, it looked like the arm was all that America was going to get, with Philadelphia, Boston, and New York all fighting over who would get it. It was New York, however, that put the arm in Madison Square park to raise donations. Souvenir photographs were sold and for 50 cents people could climb a ladder to the balcony on the torch. Finally, on Oct. 28, 1886, the full Statue of Liberty — hand, body and pedestal — was installed and dedicated on Liberty Island.