Message - Re: Soil Profile under Statue of Liberty

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Posted by  Jim on June 14, 2003 at 06:03:46:

In Reply to:  Soil Profile under Statue of Liberty posted by Mr Liberty on June 13, 2003 at 18:53:34:

There is a book of the blueprints of the statue that was published some years ago, no doubt available on Inter-Library Loan through any large library. Locate the call number or ISBN # from the Library of Congress' web site and then present that to your local librarian and they can get a copy for you. If you like the book(s) they find, go to and see if they can find the title for you to buy.

Be careful about how you inquire about soil and foundations of national monuments. There have been a number of attempts by radicals to undermine or blow up such structures, and in today's climate of fear and consequent security measures, it is possible that the 'authorities' will not understand an engineering/architecture student's interest in the location. No doubt the actual updated drawings and specifications are maintained by the National Park Service at their HQ in Washington, but how much they know about the soil is open to question. If your interest is in agronomy (soil science) you might do better to consult the US Geographic Survey of the Department of Agriculture by referring to Liberty Island, New Jersey (it is the waters of the State of New Jersey). Historic soil studies done before the statue was built might be found in the papers of architects McKim, Mead & White, who were the architects of the pedestal, as best as I recall. (it is likely that Bertholdi simply wrote the specifications for mounting the statue, leaving it up to Americans to determine suitable placement conditions.) They or their subcontractor would have been responsible to determine the percolation testing or core samples if previous use of the island had not disclosed the soil's ability to withstand the weight of the foundation and structures. Historically, I believe that it was called Bedloe's Island, so some data may be under that pre-statue name. You might also consult the National Archives for the various Reports that were made concerning the structure back in the '70s when they were discussing refurbishment, all the way through to today as many changes and updates were performed. The various engineering magazines had run articles about the work of restoration back in the 80s. There may also be sort of society of ad hoc appreciators of the place called something like the Friends of the Statue of Liberty and such groups would retain out-of-print data all about the statue and its island; search for such at You might even go to the Island by appointment to see the Superintendent of the Island who might know of Soil/Foundation Reports not made public yet. Don't alarm the security people by innocently asking to go down to the subbasement to see the foundation and drainage equipment! At the least they will blow you off, at worst, they will lock you up or have FBI types following you for months! Like you, I am fascinated by buildings, and when I was a child I walked into the Fed. courthouse here and found the staircase that went to the roof and simply walked up it and stood on the roof. Today, one goes through metal scanners, is queried as to reason to be there, and ALL staircase doors have signs warning that opening them will sound an alarm and that video surveillance is carried out in ALL areas of the building! Even if a kid could get into such areas today, he would be arrested so fast his head would spin! Can you blame them?

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