Place Page

Ellis Island

(1776—1965)

Ellis Island opened on January 1, 1892, and for the next sixty-two years, it was the gateway to America. More than twelve million immigrants arrived, were processed, and allowed entry to the United States through this island in New York Harbor. For many immigrants, Ellis Island was a symbol of hope and a place where their American dream could begin, but for others, it was the place where dreams stopped due to a denied application or the diagnosis of a disease. Ellis Island remains a tribute to the immigrants of the twentieth century. Their journeys and sacrifices shaped modern America.

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Pictures & Records (18)

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ellisIsland boat.jpg
ellisIsland boat.jpg
Children at Ellis Island
Children at Ellis Island
Source: National Archives By Brown Brothers, ca. 1908 Immigrant children, Ellis Island, New York. Vintage print. Records of the Public Health Service. (90-G-125-29)
Ellis Island, 1978.jpg
Ellis Island, 1978.jpg
ellis-island.jpg
ellis-island.jpg
Ellis Island
Ellis Island
EllisIsland3.jpg
EllisIsland3.jpg
A 46-star American flag dates this photo of the Great Hall between 1907-1912. Source: http://www.ellisisland.org/photoalbums/ellis_island_album105.asp
EllisIsland4.jpg
EllisIsland4.jpg
Eight orphan children arrive from Russia in May 1908 on the SS Caronia. Source: http://www.ellisisland.org/photoalbums/ellis_island_album101.asp
EllisIsland2.jpg
EllisIsland2.jpg
Immigrants are sworn in as United States citizens at a 1917 naturalization ceremony in Newark, New Jersey. Source: http://www.ellisisland.org/photoalbums/ellis_island_album102.asp
EllisIsland7.jpg
EllisIsland7.jpg
Immigrants aboard a ship heading for the Port of New York, circa 1892. Source: http://www.ellisisland.org/photoalbums/ellis_island_album107.asp
EllisIsland6.jpg
EllisIsland6.jpg
A view of immigrants inside the Ellis Island Dining Room. Source: http://www.ellisisland.org/photoalbums/ellis_island_album104.asp
EllisIsland5.jpg
EllisIsland5.jpg
A group of Missionaries pose outside the Main Building of Ellis Island, May 1908. Source: http://www.ellisisland.org/photoalbums/ellis_island_album103.asp
EllisIsland8.jpg
EllisIsland8.jpg
Immigrants being given a mental test at Ellis Island. Source: http://www.ellisisland.org/photoalbums/ellis_island_album114.asp
Ellis_island_1902.jpg
Ellis_island_1902.jpg
Immigrants arriving at Ellis Hospital, the new Hospital is in the background.
EllisIsland11.jpg
EllisIsland11.jpg
EllisIsland10.jpg
EllisIsland10.jpg
EllisIsland9.jpg
EllisIsland9.jpg
Doctor examining immigrants for skin disorders
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Map of Black Tom, 1905
Map of Black Tom, 1905

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Famous individuals who came through Ellis Island

Irving Berlin — Composer of Patriotic Favorite

Michael Strank — Raised Flag at Iwo Jima
General Colin L. Powell’s parents — Former Secretary of State
Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, USN — "Father of the Nuclear Navy"

Bob Hope—American Entertainer

Added by Clio

Black Tom Explosion Damages Several Buildings on Ellis Island

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At 2:08 am, on July 30, 1916, Black Tom Island in New York Harbor exploded with such force that windows were shattered in Times Square and reverberations were felt in Philadelphia. Immigrants at Ellis Island had to be evacuated to the Immigration Bureau at the Battery in lower Manhattan. The buildings on Ellis Island were severely damaged, and it was during the repairs from this explosion that the famous ceiling over the Great Hall was constructed by the Guastavino brothers.

            The Black Tom explosion occurred before the United States entered World War I. During this time, German saboteurs would bomb targets with munitions and supplies destined for the Allies fighting against Germany. Black Tom Island was a storage facility for ammunitions being shipped to the Allied forces in Britain, France, Italy, and Russia. On the night of the explosion, over two million pounds of ammunition was waiting to be transported overseas. Shortly before the explosion, the guards at Black Tom discovered several small fires on the pier. The blast that followed caused an information blackout, one-hundred-thousand dollars of damage to the Statue of Liberty, over twenty-million dollars in property damages, severe injury to the buildings on Ellis Island, at least three deaths, and blast repercussions as far away as Brooklyn and Philadelphia. 

            New Jersey state officials immediately suspected German sabotage, but little was known or proven until after the war. The most serious suspect was Michael Kristoff, a twenty-three-year-old, German immigrant who may have started the fires for $500. His FBI folder states that Kristoff was “quite familiar” with the Black Tom Explosion. However, Kristoff died in 1928, before any charges were brought against him. In 1939, the German-American Mixed Claims Commission claimed that a German saboteur was responsible and ordered Germany to pay $50 million dollars in reparations. While the identity of the terrorist was never revealed, Germany accepted responsibility and Michael Kristoff remains the most logical suspect for the Black Tom bombings.

 

Source: http://www.njcu.edu/programs/jchistory/Pages/B_Pages/Black_Tom_Explosion.htm

Added by Clio

Place Details

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Expansion:
From 3.3 acres to 27.5 acres 1
First Immigrant Processed:
Annie Moore, 15 years old, Ireland 1
Over 12 million:
Estimated number of immigrants processed through Ellis Island 1
Years of Operation:
1892-1954 1
Becomes a detention center for aliens:
1946 1
Black Tom Explosion damages several buildings:
30 Jul 1916 1
Congress orders immigration center built:
1890 1
Ellis Island becomes a National Park:
11 May 1965 1
Ellis Island becomes part of New York State:
1834 1
Ellis Island bought by Federal Government:
1808 1
Ellis Island closes:
November 1954 1
Fire destroys main buildings:
15 Jun 1897 1
First Immigration Station opens:
01 Jan 1892 1
Highest recorded day of immigration, 11,747 people:
17 Apr 1907 1
Immigration Act of 1924 sets quotas:
1924 1
Island owned by Samuel Ellis:
1776 1
Peak year with 1,004,756 immigrants received:
1907 1
Place:
Name: Ellis Island 2

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