Though 40% of Americans trace their roots to immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island, few get the chance to see the view from the top of Lady Liberty—of the 12,000 daily visitors to Liberty Island, just 240 reach the crown. This month, that number will drop to zero: In honor of her 125th birthday, the Lady will receive a $27.5 million extreme makeover and close to the public for one year as she's outfitted with a revamped elevator and upgraded fire-safety equipment. For history buffs determined to get an insider's view, the National Park Service will continue offering e-tours of the statue. "The only way to create greater access to the crown is to do it virtually," says spokesman Darren Boch. The island grounds will remain open during the renovation, and to serve the huddled masses of tourists, Boch says the park will launch a free smartphone app, the first for an NPS monument. "It will be just like a park ranger in your pocket."
A version of this article appeared in the October 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.