For Steve Breeden, every day is the Fourth of July.
What’s up with that?
Breeden has a 10-foot Statue of Liberty on the deck of his Everett home that can be seen from I-5 south of the 41st Street overpass. She’s there year-round, bolted to a pedestal.
“I thought it would be a great spot to have her facing east toward the other Statue of Liberty clear back in New York. This is the West Coast version,” Breeden said.
The shiny copper lady welcomes weary travelers on I-5.
“It is fun and patriotic. She stands proud with her arm up in the air,” he said. “You can see it from both sides of the freeway. Heading north you see it a lot easier.”
Some people want a better look and seek out his home on View Drive near 52nd Street SE and Broadway.
“I’ve had people come up and knock on my door and ask me questions. I’ve seen people with 35 millimeter lenses taking pictures. It’s a spectacular shot with the mountains in the background,” he said.
“I had a guy offer to buy it from me. He wanted to put it on top of a building.”
Sorry, dude. It’s not for sale.
She’s a Breeden beacon.
“Our grandkids live in Lake Stevens and the Arlington area and they are back and forth on the freeway. They call and tell Grandma and Grandpa to come out and we wave at them as they go by,” he said. “We’ve had friends and business associates do the same.”
The real Lady Liberty stands 305 feet, has a 35-foot waistline and wears a size 879 shoe. Inside are 354 steps. She gets struck by lighting about 600 times a year.
The New York statue was erected facing the sea to welcome immigrants arriving by ship. At the base, those famous lines: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
There are replicas worldwide, in places as far-flung as Peru, Pakistan and Australia. A village in Spain has a statue with two raised hands holding torches.
A Wikipedia site lists about 25 in the United States, including at a Las Vegas casino and Seattle’s Alki Park. Maybe someday Breeden’s will make the list.
Breeden, 63, saw the real Statue of Liberty in 2014 on a harbor tour when he visited New York on a trip to see the Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII.
“It left a lasting impression,” he said.
That’s why when he saw a replica several years later, he just had to have it. The wood and fiberglass figure was at the Antique Station in Snohomish, where he also has a booth.
“I fell in love with her,” Breeden said.
He paid about $500 and needed help to load it in his truck.
“I like quirky things. I have a big marlin coming out from one side of the house,” he said.
You can’t see the fiberglass fish from the road.
He has a chandelier in his garage workshop and lots of other cool stuff.
Breeden’s career is in graphic design. Drive around Everett and you can see his design signs at Mikie’s Restaurant, Hoglund’s and many other places. He created the former logo for this city, where he’s a lifelong resident. He and his wife, Julie, named their puppy Herald after this newspaper.
He sometimes subs at Lowell Elementary School across the street.
“A lot of kids know me because of the statue,” he said. “They ask me questions so I can tell them a little history about it.”
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France in 1886 to celebrate the centennial of the Declaration of Independence and the abolition of slavery. The statue’s full name is Liberty Enlightening the World.
“It’s a symbol of hope and freedom and liberty,” Breeden said. “Hopefully, there’s no negative or bad connotations with it.”
Despite its noble intent, the statue historically has been used to point out inequality in the Land of the Free.
Lady Liberty was modeled after the Roman goddess Libertas, a symbol of freedom when the female half of the population in the U.S. was still denied the vote.
The tablet in her left hand has the date of American Independence, July 4, 1776, when “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” was not extended beyond white men.
For many people, though, the statue symbolizes promise and a fresh start.
The National Park Service has cared for the statue since 1933. It has been closed due to COVID-19.
Not that we could travel there anyway. These days, New York doesn’t want huddled masses from Washington or anywhere else for that matter.