Did you know that Pennsylvania has a Lady Liberty statue?
A prank turned local favorite
Pennsylvania has her very own, smaller version of the Statue of Liberty proudly perched on the Susquehanna river. You can catch a glimpse of PA\’s Lady Liberty as you drive along 322 near Dauphin, PA. Unlike her big sister, Pennsylvania\’s quirky Statue of Liberty was constructed and erected in secret, is only 25 feet tall, is currently Lady Liberty 2.0.
Pennsylvania\’s very own Statue of Liberty is positioned on a raised pedestal (former pier) in the middle of the Susquehanna river near Dauphin, PA. She weighs over 4 tons and has been there since 1997. But she isn\’t the original statue. She\’s a 2.0 version based on the original statue, which was based on the NYC original statue. She\’s a replica of a replica. And she\’s loved.
Statue lore is short, sweet, and poignant
Lady Liberty mysteriously appeared on the Susquehanna river near Dauphin, Pennsylvania in 1986. No one (but the pranksters!) knew how she got there or who put her there. Locals just discovered a mini-Statue of Liberty perched on a pier in the middle of the river one day. Since it was 1986 and the Centennial celebration of the original Statue of Liberty, I could imagine folks were making assumptions about the purpose of this new statue. Yet – no one could seemingly solve the mystery. Community Leaders didn\’t know about the statue. A mystery was born.
Local news reports at the time indicated that commuters were so distracted by – or attracted to? – the statue that accidents were being blamed on distracted drivers. One could understand the double-take commuters experienced when a bright white, 18\’ statue suddenly appears in the deep blue waters of the Susquehanna. You just might look twice to make sure you really did see a tiny version of the Statue of Liberty.
Years past and the original statue became a local celebrity, helped by the mystery of \’Who done it?\” The secret of who built her and managed to secretly placed her in the middle of a river without permission was kept for years. Twenty five years, to be exact.
Mr. Stlip finally shared his part in the original construction and erection of the original 18\’ statue. Stlip shared that the original statue was constructed in a garage to honor New Jersey\’s / New York\’s 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.
Fun fact: the Statue of Liberty resides in New Jersey, but is officially a New Yorker due to being part of the National Park Service of New York. Plus, everyone associates our proud Lady Liberty with NYC. So sorry, NJ!
Today the mystery is solved, and everyone knows that Mr. Stlip decided to construct a replica Statue of Liberty to commemorate the Centennial celebration of the original Statue of Liberty, and that he decided this replica was needed for the local communities of Pennsylvania. The first statue was constructed out of plywood and – oddly! – Venetian blinds.
Mystery: Why Venetian blinds? Was there a close-out sale?
The first PA Statue of Liberty was stealthy erected in the middle of a river on an old pylon of a demolished bridge. After six years of standing tall on the Susquehanna river dais, an aggressive storm bore down on the region and our Lady of Liberty was damaged beyond repair. I could image that the locals must have feared this was the end of a fun and quirky memorial. But it was not the end.
Dauphin Borough and surrounding communities had grown so fond of having their own Susquehanna Statue of Liberty that they worked to raise funds. Locals successfully raised the funds necessary to build a new, sturdier replica of the statue to replace the original, Venetian-blind-replica. So, Lady Liberty 3.0? I lost track. It doesn\’t matter. What matters is that Pennsylvania saved their beloved statue of liberty!
The Sovereign of Susquehanna
Pennsylvania has regained her lovely and loved Lady of Liberty. She is again perched on her own pedestal, proudly reigning over the Susquehanna River.
We are better for having her there. Thank you Mr. Stlip for the inspiration of this idea – and to the local community members who ensured that we retained a quirky sense of humor and tons of civic pride.
The next time you are near the state capital of Harrisburg, take a drive along route 322 and spy upon the little lady yourself. Or grab a kayak and get up close and personal to a unique piece of Pennsylvania\’s quirky history. The Sovereign of Susquehanna reigns tall.