The United States is one of the biggest countries in the world. It is home to some great tourist destinations. Therefore many people visit it every year. When you first hear the name of the United States, then the first thing that comes to your mind is the name of the famous New York City. This is because New York City is perhaps the most famous city of the country and is home to some famous landmarks.
One of these landmarks is located in Upper New York Bay and is known as Ellis Island. Ellis Island has great significance as it served as the gateway to the country for over 12 million immigrants until 1892 till 1954.
Ellis Island was not always this big as it was expanded with land reclamation between the years of 1892 and 1934. Before all of that, the island was small, and it was the original site of Fort Gibson. Ellis Island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument until 1965. Ellis Island was thought to be part of New York State but it was later decided the Island was part of New Jersey as most of the island lies in that state.
When you talk about the geography of Ellis Island, then you find many interesting things. First and foremost, the island is located in Upper New York Bay in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Island is north of Liberty Island and just east of Liberty State Park, a small section of Ellis Island is part of New York City. As mentioned earlier, Ellis Island was made this big mostly by land reclamation. This allows Ellis Island to cover around 27.5 acres out of which 3.3 acres is part of New York. The whole island is administered and governed by the United States Federal Government.
The entire south of the island is closed to the general public, and it has been so since 1954. The north side was made public, but it was later closed again to the public after Hurricane Sandy. Patrols guard Ellis Island since September 11, 2001.
The Upper New York Bay has quite a bit of fascinating history. However, most of it is related to geography. The area consisted of many tidal flats that doubled as oyster banks was a major source of food for the locals. Many of these islands used to get submerged under the water during high tide, but some of the islands remained above water level. These islands are now known as Ellis Island, Liberty Island and Black Tom Island, however back in the day the new settlers from the Netherlands named these islands as Oyster Islands and these islands remained a food source for nearly three centuries.
The name of the island kept on being changed in the following years mainly because newer settlers started to take the land and named it according to their will. However, during the American Revolution Samuel Ellis who was a colonial New Yorker bought the island and then later wanted to sell the island in 1785 but was unable to do so. The island was leased by the state of New York in the year 1784, the ownership of the island was then transferred to the United States. The island served as a federal arsenal from 1808 till 1814, later on, Fort Gibson was built on the island. The island then served as a military post for 80 years and was then made a federal immigration station.
Ellis Island And Immigrant Inspection
Before the opening of the Ellis Island station, many immigrants came to New York and were processed at Castle Garden Immigration Depot in Lower Manhattan. Later on, the federal government looked forward to changing the location and make Ellis Island an immigrant station. An investment of $75,000 was made for the construction of the station. Then artesian wells were dug on the island and landfill was done, this doubled the size of Ellis Island to six acres. The main building of the station was still under construction that is why the Barge Office at Battery was used for immigrant processing.
As soon as the main building was constructed, it was used for immigrant processing. The original building at the station was a three story building and had out buildings made out of Georgia pine. These buildings had everything necessary stored in them, and they served a critical purpose. However, the building that we see today is not the original building. This is because in 1897 and an unknown fire burned the station. However, no losses of life were reported, but the immigration records of 1.5 million immigrants got destroyed. After the incident plans to build a new and safer building were put forward.
The structural design of the station that we see today is a design that is inspired by the French Renaissance Revival style and it is built of limestone and red brick. During the renovation of the station, the Barge Office was once again used to manage the immigrants. After its renovation Ellis Island was again expanded by landfills, the island served as an immigration hub till 1954, and till then it had processed around 12 million people.
As mentioned earlier, Ellis Island was not always this big as it was expanded with land reclamation between the years of 1892 and 1934. Before all of that, the island was very small, and it was the original site of Fort Gibson. Ellis Island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument until very late, in the year 1965. Ellis Island was thought to be part of New York State, but it was later decided the Island was part of New Jersey as most of the island lies in that state.
However, during the American Revolution Samuel Ellis who was a colonial New Yorker bought the island and it is on his name that the island is named Ellis Island. This was the last time when the name of the island was changed, and since then it has remained the same. The main station that is found in Ellis Island is now used as an Immigration Museum and was opened back in 1900.
The island is simply one of the best places that you will find in the United States. The location of this island is extremely wonderful, and the fact that it is accessible only by ferry makes it even better. Many people visit the island every year, and it is a great spot for spending time and taking pictures. The island itself is breathtaking and provides some of the best views. Many people enjoy the ferry ride to the Island. However, the Ellis Island that we see today had fallen into disrepair and massive renovation was required. The money required for this purpose was around $150 million. This money was raised with the help of a fundraiser organized by Wyatt A. Stewart who was a political fundraiser.