New York City is full of fun things to do and historical sites to see. One of the places that held the most meaning for those who first came to this country was Ellis Island.
Ellis Island was the place that determined whether or not the immigrant families could stay or if they had to go back to their homeland. Most of the immigrants who came to the United States between the years of 1892 and 1954, came through this place.
Before the immigrant inspection building was built, this island was the site of Fort Gibson. Later, Fort Gibson became a naval magazine.
Then, they worked to make the island larger between 1892 and 1934 by dumping landfill next to it. Today, this is the site of a museum.
It is interesting to note that while the island is typically considered to be part of New York and its location is in the New York Harbor, the Supreme Court determined that most of Ellis Island belongs to the state of New Jersey.
The land itself is north of Liberty Island and is considered to be part of Jersey City, New Jersey. It is 32.030 acres in size today.
Eighty three percent of this acreage is due to the contribution of landfill deposits. Before the landfill was used to expand the island, it was only 5.302 acres in size.
Only 3.3 acres of the island are considered to belong to New York City. However, despite who can claim what, the federal government has claimed to own the entire island since 1808.
The main form of transportation to Ellis Island is by ferry. This ferry can be caught from Battery Park or at Communipaw Terminal.
Many people catch the ferry and take it to see the Statue of Liberty as well. There is also a bridge that connects Ellis Island to Liberty State Park.
However, this bridge is not open to the public. The bridge is used simply to transport materials and staff who work on Ellis Island.
At one point it was suggested that a bridge for pedestrian use be constructed. However, the ferry operator and the city of New York had concerns about this.
Ellis Island is considered to be a major landmark and historical mark in United States history. As a result, this island has been put under strict guard ever since the time of September 11, 2001.
Before this island became the main route through which immigrants were processed, the immigrants were processed at the Castle Garden Immigration Depot. The Castle Garden Immigration Depot is located in southern Manhattan.
This depot processed over eight million immigrants. The Castle Garden Immigration Depot is a significant landmark in history as well.
Ellis Island was busy as soon as it opened. It was the busiest in 1907 when 1,004, 756 immigrants came through.
The busiest day during that year was April 17, 1907. On this day alone, 11, 747 immigrants came through Ellis Island.
When the immigrants arrived, they were asked 29 different questions. These questions included things like name, occupation, amount of money the family had and so forth.
Those who had serious diseases or health problems were sent back to their home land or to one of the hospital facilities until they were better. Almost 3,000 patients in these hospitals died while there.
The process of health examination and question asking usually took a typical immigrant two to five hours. In addition to those who were ill, some workers who had not skill were sent back because they were afraid that they would become a burden to the public and the new country.
Criminal background and insanity were also grounds for being sent back. About two percent of all the immigrants that came through Ellis Island were ever rejected and sent back to their homeland.
On occasion, this sometimes resulted in families being split up between the United States and a home country. This is also the reason that Ellis Island was sometimes called "The Island of Tears" or "Heartbreak Island."
However, it was also typically a place of great joy. There was a wood post outside of the Registry Room where the new arrivals would meet up with their friends and relatives who were already in the United States.
This post was called 'the Kissing Post' because of the hugs and kisses that were given there as they greeted one another. This place was very significant in many of the lives of the immigrants.