America’s most active and largest immigration station from 1892 to 1924, Ellis Island was over 12 million immigrants were processed here. On average approximately 3-7 hours took the inspection process. For the huge majority of immigrants, this island truly was an “Island of Hope” – it was the first stop on their way to new experiences and opportunities in America. For the rest of the immigrants, it was the “Island of Tears” – a place where individuals and families were separated and denied entry into this country.
Located off the tip of Manhattan, Ellis Island is in the middle of a harbor, sitting on 27.5 acres of land. In 1812, the small island was a fort. It was turned into an immigration processing station or center from a fort by the United States Federal Government. In all her glory and splendor The Statue of Liberty is standing tall, symbolic of freedom for all who pass her way, it is visible from the point of Ellis Island.
1. Ellis Island was the processing station for immigrants and the island had gone through some major restorations throughout the decades; increased in size and accommodating more buildings as it was developed from 1776 to the 1900’s. This island now holds a museum, which states the stories of how it came into being and the immigrants that are a part of it.
2. Ellis Island’s original size was three acres and now it is nine times bigger than before. In 1892, with the construction of the immigration center, leading to original increase in island size. In 1900, the Main Building was opened and the more land was added near the ferry slip, using dirt which was extracted during the building process of the New York subway system. Ellis Island now covers around 27 acres.
3. Through Ellis Island, millions of immigrants entered the United States and among them were many notable people. The first immigrant who went through Ellis Island on its opening day was Annie Moore, from County Cork, Ireland. The final immigrant was Norwegian Arne Peterssen, passing through it in 1954. Albert Einstein, Rudolph Valentino, Frank Capra, Irving Berlin, Isaac Asimov, and Knute Rockne are some well-known immigrants who entered United States through Ellis Island.
4. The majority of the island is in New Jersey actually although Ellis Island’s mailing address is in New York. The Supreme Court determined in a 1998 ruling that most of the island lies in New Jersey’s area of New York Harbor.
5. After 1834 the expansion of the island pushed it into New Jersey, but this area is not open for tours has and yet to be renovated.
6.In New York Harbor, Ellis Island is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.
7. All the newly arrived were not welcomed at the Ellis Island. Aboard the ship, first and second class passengers were screened and disembarked at the pier unless they were ill.
8. Steerage or Third class passengers were ferried to Ellis Island where they went under a physical examination and were subject to a psychological assessment. The reason for this disparate treatment was that immigration authorities thought that migrants who could afford a first or second-class ticket were a lower risk to society.
9. Ellis Island has been called by many different names. Local Indian tribes mentioned it as Gull Island or Kioshk. Also called Oyster Island during the English and Dutch colonial periods. Its current name from its last private owner, Samuel Ellis.
10. It is considered as a New York City attraction although only a small portion of the island is in New York. Some 80% of Ellis Island is situated within the state of New Jersey.