The Statue of Liberty was created by the citizens of France as a gift to the United States. It was not shipped to the United States in one piece, but in several. The first piece to arrive was the arm holding the torch. The piece was put on display at a park in New York, and visitors flocked to see the curiosity. The building seen beside the arm no doubt sold souvenirs and postcards!
Here is a photo of the massive foot of the statue, with part of the torch in the background.
Financing of the statue was obtained by individual donations from the people of France. Here, the top of the statue is displayed in a park in France before being shipped to the United States.
The Library of Congress website is an excellent source of royalty free public domain photos. Though not all photos shown on this site are in the public domain, it is easy to determine this. It's a wealth of interesting photos.