The 25 ft. tall Statue of Liberty replica stands on an old Marysville bridge platform in the Susquehanna River. The original 18-ft. tall version was built by Gene Stilp in 1986 out of venetian blinds. Demolished in a storm, it was later recreated taller and out of sturdier materials.
Dauphin's Statue of Liberty
If you take Route 322 from Harrisburg towards
State College, you’ll pass close by the Susquehanna River at a stretch called
Dauphin Narrows. Out there in the river stands a brilliant white replica of the
Statue of Liberty, proudly standing in all her scaled-down glory on an old stone
bridge piling. Distance plays havoc with your sense of scale in this area:
Although Dauphin’s Lady Liberty looks tiny, she’s actually 25 feet tall and
quite sturdy. She’s also the second replica of the Statue of Liberty to stand in
the fast-moving waters.
A local lawyer and activist-artist named Gene Stilp
put together the first statue with some friends for a
bit of a lark
to celebrate the original Statue of Liberty’s centennial in the 1980s. When the
ersatz replica was finished, they displayed it the closest thing they could find
to the plinth on Liberty Island—an old railway bridge piling in the middle of
the river. There it stood for years, raising a smile from motorists, until wind
and weather finally carried it off in the 1990s. People missed it so much that
Stilp and his team built a more durable replacement of wood, metal, and
fiberglass, moved it onto the piling by helicopter, and lashed it securely to
the plinth with cables.
This patriotic example of folk art is always a
passing pleasure, however, since it’s almost impossible to see from the nearest
town, Dauphin. The best you can manage is a few seconds glimpse as you drive on
Route 322—unless you’re good enough at kayaking to navigate the treacherous
waters in that stretch of the river.
You can read about all of Pennsylvania’s
Roadside Oddities and other curious attractions if Weird Pennsylvania.
Read More about this statue:
Image from Weird Pennsylvania by Matt Lake: