This part of the famous monument has been closed to the public since July 1916

The interior of the Statue of Liberty torch and the sabotage that canceled its visits

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous and iconic monuments in the world, and also the most visited site in New York.

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This famous monument was inaugurated in 1886. It is a work of the sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, and its internal structure was designed by the engineer Gustave Eiffel. Covered in copper sheets, originally the statue was from reddish color, but due to the oxidation of that metal, over the years it ended up acquiring a dark brown appearance (due to a copper oxide called tenorite), and finally the air pollution in the city and the mixture of copper and tenorite ended up giving it the greenish appearance that it has had since the beginning of the 20th century.

The Statue of Liberty, seen from the side of her right arm (Photo: Chris Linnett).

It is known worldwide that the Statue of Liberty has a viewing platform in its crown, made up of 25 windows. You can access the interior by a small elevator that runs along the pedestal, and from there you have to go up two intertwined spiral staircases, with 162 steps, as we already saw here. The US National Park Service warns that it is An exhausting climb that is not recommended for people who suffer from vertigo, heart or respiratory problems, claustrophobia and acrophobia.

The torch of the Statue of Liberty (Photo: Mateus Maia).

Its torch is also accessible and has a circular balcony, but it has been closed to the public since 1916, due to an event related to the First World War, which the United States joined in 1917.

The scale that runs along the inside of the right arm to the torch, seen from below (Photo: National Park Service).

Before entering that war, The United States supplied weapons and ammunition to the Allied countries. One of the main warehouses for the explosives that were sent to the Allies was on Black Tom Island, in New Jerseyand very close to Liberty Island which is home to the famous statue (today Black Tom is no longer an island, due to landfills in that area, and is part of Liberty State Park).

The interior of the torch and the ladder that goes up to it (Photo: National Park Service).

As the FBI website reminds, on the 30th July 1916, two million tons of war materiel packed into train cars exploded at the Black Tom railroad yard. The US intelligence community was much smaller than today. Two Germans were the authors of the sabotage. The huge explosion shook New York City, breaking numerous windows and knocking many residents out of their beds, as it took place at 2:08 in the morning. The explosion was so strong that seismographs recorded it as a power 5 earthquake on the Richter scale.

The door leading to the torch balcony (Photo: National Park Service).

In addition to devastating Black Tom Island, the explosion caused damage to the Statue of Liberty, including the torch and the arm that supports it. The cost of the repairs was very high, and as a result of that event, visits to the torch were prohibited, since that was precisely the most delicate part of the statue.

The top of the torch, seen from the inside (Photo: National Park Service).

More than a century later, access to the interior of the torch is via a ladder, since it is a narrow conduit. Maintenance personnel continue to access it to keep the lighting system that illuminates the current torch, which was changed in 1986, ready (the original is in a museum located inside the pedestal).

The top of the torch, seen from the outside (Photo: National Park Service).

The current torch is covered in 24-karat gold, which shines in the sunlight during the day and reflects the light from the projectors located on the statue's balcony at night, making it one of the most beautiful and symbolic monuments in the world.

The lighting system of the torch, at the base of the circular balcony that surrounds it (Photo: National Park Service).

The US National Park Service website has a page where you can see interactive images of the inside of the right arm and the torch


Main photo: Mateus Maia.

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