Whenever we think of certain historic landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty or the Golden Gate Bridge, we get a clear image in our head of exactly what they look like. The pictures are ingrained in our minds, and for good reason. They tell fascinating stories of our country’s history.

One thing most people don’t think about is the grueling workload it took to construct these landmarks. Now that they’re complete, we admire them, but a ton of manpower and time went into making sure these magnificent structures stood the test of time. Just check out these man-made marvels while they were in the middle of their construction…

1. Statue of Liberty, New York City: This iconic landmark was gifted to the United States by France, and the pieces were shipped in crates. Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi designed the structure, and Gustave Eiffel was the man who actually built it before it was shipped.

2. Hollywood Sign, California: This iconic sign in the Los Angeles Hills wasn’t originally built to be a landmark, but rather an advertisement for a new housing development, Hollywoodland. It was only supposed be up for a year, but it was quickly viewed as a symbol of Los Angeles and the American cinema.

3. Las Vegas Strip, Nevada: When the lights are shining bright on the strip at night, it’s one of the most scenic and vibrant streets in the country. The older photo was taken in 1966, but the strip’s very first casino, El Rancho Vegas, was already gone by then.

4. Disneyland, California: The idea for Disneyland came about after Walt Disney visited Griffith Park in Los Angeles and envisioned a place where both kids and adults could have fun together in an amusement park setting.

5. Chrysler Building, New York City: For 11 months, the Chrysler Building was the tallest structure in the world… until the Empire State Building was constructed. It still holds the record as the world’s first man-made structure taller than 1,000 feet, and it’s currently the tallest brick building.

6. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota: A South Dakota historian named Doane Robinson came up with the idea to carve faces into the Black Hills, but his original idea was to have the faces of Western heroes. However, a sculptor named Gutzon Borglum suggested using presidents to give it a more national focus.

7. Hangar One, California: Hangar One is one of the most recognizable landmarks in California’s Silicon Valley, and it was originally a naval airship hangar for the U.S.S. Macon. Dr. Karl Arnstein, the vice president and director of engineering for the Goodyear-Zeppelin corporation, was its designer.

8. Dodger Stadium, California: When Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley couldn’t find land to build a stadium, he moved out west and ended up in Elysian Park in Los Angeles, California. It’s the third-oldest major league ballpark and largest stadium by seating capacity.

9. Space Needle, Seattle: Seattle’s Space Needle was constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair. Edward E. Carlson, the chairman of the fair who came up with the idea, was inspired after he saw the Stuttgart Tower in Germany.

10. Manhattan Bridge, New York City: This structure became a model for future suspension bridges due to the fact it was the first to incorporate deflection theory for its deck. The bridge itself was completed in 1909, but the arch and columns were added a year later.

11. Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.: President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on 1865, and his memorial was constructed 49 years later in 1914. The original statue was only supposed to be 10 feet tall, but the men who sculpted it, the Piccirilli brothers, decided to make it nine feet taller.

12. The Flatiron building, New York City: This building’s designer, Chicago native Daniel Burnham, wanted it to resemble the Chicago School style of architecture, which was tall and narrow. The Fuller company who owned the building wanted it to be named after their founder, George A. Fuller, but people kept calling it Flatiron, and the name stuck.

13. The Brooklyn Bridge, New York City: Since 1883, this bridge has connected Manhattan and Brooklyn, and it’s the landmark that fully completes the famous New York City skyline. The construction began in 1869, and it was designed by a German immigrant named John Augustus Roebling.

14. Penn Station, New York City: More than 600,000 commuters use this intercity railroad every day, and it was named after the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was in charge of building it. The design was inspired by the Gare d’Orsay station in Paris.

15. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City: The construction of this massive Manhattan cathedral began in 1858, but it came to a stop during the Civil War. It was finished 20 years later, but much more has been added on since then, including the archbishop’s house and a school.

16. Capitol Building, Washington D.C: This building seats the United States Congress, and it was built using a distinctive neoclassical style. Construction was completed in the early 1800s, but few people know that the iconic dome wasn’t added until 1855!

17. St. Louis Arch, Missouri: In 1947, a designer named Eero Saarinen won a nationwide contest asking architects to create a monument honoring Western pioneers. Construction began in 1963, and two years later, the finished product sat proudly along the Mississippi River.

18. Grand Central Terminal, New York City: Cornelius Vanderbilt, the famous railroad magnate, financed the construction of what’s now perhaps the most famous train station in the United States. It opened in 1871, though the entire thing was eventually torn down and rebuilt to accommodate electric trains, as opposed to steam trains.

19. Salt Lake Temple, Utah: This Salt Lake City, Utah, temple houses the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The temple opened on April 6, 1853, and it was finally completed 40 years later to the day, on April 6, 1892.

20. World’s First Ferris Wheel, Illinois: The first Ferris wheel ever built was also known as the Chicago Wheel, and it was displayed at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The name comes from the designer, George Washington Gale Ferris.

It’s hard to imagine the work that went into building these landmarks. Still, these photos should give you an idea of just how epic they all were, even during their construction!

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