Determining If the Statue of Liberty Torch Was Ever Open to the Public After It Closed in 1916

Ryan Socash of It’s History, who previously looked into why the iconic Torch of the Statue of Liberty is off-limits to visitors, posited if it was ever open to the public at all after it was definitively closed after the Black Tom Incident in 1916.

According to some sources from the time of the Statue’s dedication in 1886 until the Black Tom incident in 1916, visitors could ascend the Statue’s torch. Many questions now remain does the Statue really have a Torch Room how’s the torch accessible and why is the public now denied such a unique chance to stand at the top of the world?

He also addresses the myth of the Torch Room.

In the early years after the statue’s dedication a limited number of individuals including dignitaries and special guests were granted access to the torch through special arrangements. these rare visits to the torch might have given rise to the misconception that there is a room within there were also misleading depictions in artwork.

Now, only a select few are allowed to access the torch.

So the only people who can access the torch today are currently maintenance workers U.S Park police and people who test the metals and structure for decay and damage and check the structure for stress and water damage every few years.

Socash doesn’t have a definitive answer as to whether or not the Torch was ever open to the public but he accepts the National Park Service statement on the matter and is open to input.

So where does that leave us? Well given the fact that the Park services Statement on the topic leaves open the possibility that before 1916 visitors could access the torch I’m inclined to believe that at least some of the anecdotal posts on the subject are made by people who didn’t confuse the torch with the crown.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.