By DARLA MCCAMMON
Lakeland Art Association
Last week we talked about how Bartholdi initially designed the Statue of Liberty but his friend Le-Duc was the engineer who began crafting it into what we know today by proposing a copper skin that would be connected to an interior pier. Incredibly, and to Bartholdi’s grief and dismay, his friend Le-Duc suddenly became ill and died leaving no instructions on how this connection of copper to pier could possibly be accomplished for the main body. The head, as we mentioned, was already done and had been used to help raise funds for the remainder of the project.
It took Bartholdi almost a year of searching before he was able to obtain a replacement for Le-Duc. It is a name you will recognize: Gustave Eiffel. Yes, the gentleman who would eventually achieve fame for the construction of his most famous Eiffel tower, located in Paris, agreed to finish the construction of our Statue of Liberty.
Eiffel was innovative and intelligent. Two characteristics which helped build a structure that has withstood much more than the original design could have endured without having stress fractures or cracking. Working with a structural engineer, Koechlin, Eiffel eliminated the pier and replaced it with an iron truss tower on the inside. They carefully considered hot summer weather, cold winter and strong winds along with the possibility of corrosion in their breakthrough, now called “curtain wall” construction. This meant the load was not on the structure itself, but was diverted to an interior framework. Many other creative ideas were used including spiral staircases for ease of gaining the observation view from the crown. By removing the masonry pier, more flexibility was available for the actual assembly because different segments could be completed at various locations and then assembled or later disassembled and transported to the Island that would be home in the United States.
Meantime in the United States, what was thought of as the simple part of this behemoth project was becoming instead a quagmire of political problems, criticisms, lack of enthusiasm in fundraising, and building delays. All these were causing difficulties in construction of the great pedestal that would support our Lady of Enlightenment. Many thought the entire construction should be done by Americans and the New York Times reported, “no true patriot can countenance any such expenditures for bronze females in the present state of our finances.” Find out how this was fixed next week!
- Marilyn Kruger art exhibit: Warsaw City Hall Gallery 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- 302 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw: Creason & Friends free exhibit open through September.
- Free Art program at LAA gallery 302 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw. Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.
- Oct. 4-29 Steve Creighton Kokomo Art Center 525 W. Ricketts St., Kokomo.
- Oct 5, Robert Hudson and Jennifer Caudill-Penaherra exhibit 302 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw.