PHOTO: Library of Congress
Originally designed as a lighthouse that would have stood at the mouth of the Suez Canal in Egypt, the Statue of Liberty took a meandering path to its ultimate destination in New York Harbor. After the Egyptian project collapsed, sculptor Frederic Bartholdi repurposed the idea for a U.S. market. Financing the 22-story colossus through donations, he displayed the torch at Philadelphia's Centennial Exhibition in 1876: For 50 cents, attendees ascended a ladder to the balcony encircling the copper torch. The money earned through that and souvenir sales allowed him to finish the 225-ton statue.