Harrisburg's Mini Statue of Liberty – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura

Harrisburg's Mini Statue of Liberty

A local prank turned town icon. 


Located in the Dauphin Narrows stretch of the Susquehanna River, stands a mini Statue of Liberty that is a 25 foot tall replica of the original. Technically it is a replica of a replica. The current statue is the second little Lady Liberty to hold her torch high above the old railway piling in the middle of the river.  

The first was 18 foot tall and made of plywood and venetian blinds. It was erected in 1986 as a patriotic prank to commemorate the centennial of the original Statue of Liberty. No one knew who made it or how it got there, and no one would come forward to take the credit/blame.

This first replica was blown off her pedestal and destroyed in 1992, a surprisingly long run considering its construction materials. However, in the six years since she first appeared, the people of Dauphin Township had grown rather fond of her. Money was raised to erect a heavier, sturdier 25 foot version of the statue, this time constructed from metal. This one was put in place in 1997 by a helicopter and lashed to the piling. It still stands today. 

It wasn’t until years later in 2011 that local lawyer, Gene Stilp finally owned up to not only orchestrating the making of the statue but also taking the daring trip into the dangerous river water to climb the piling and help erect the statue. Little did he know his prank would become a permanent monument for the people of Harrisburg, PA.

Being a lawyer Stilp also pointed out that the statute of limitations for prosecuting the crime of illegal statue placement has long since passed. 

Know Before You Go

Not an easy site to view. Visible from Route 322, north of Harrisburg. The statue sits on a piling in the river between Maryville and Dauhpin. Co-ordinates 40.3582913,-76.9298062 It can be viewed from Dauphin Indian Head

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