Angel Island Facts

Angel Island Facts
Angel Island, located in California's San Francisco Bay, has been used for many purposes including military forts, a U.S. Immigration Inspection and Detention facility, a and even a quarantine station. The Coast Miwok Native Americans used the island for about two thousand years before American settlement as fishing and hunting grounds. It was also used as an island used for cattle ranching at one point. Because of its use as an immigration station, and because approximately 1 million Asian immigrants were processed there, Angel Island is sometimes referred to as the Ellis Island of the West.
Interesting Angel Island Facts:
Angel Island is the largest island in San Francisco Bay.
Angel Island is approximately 1.2 square miles in size.
The highest point on Angel Island is Mt. Caroline Livermore.
Although first explored by the Spanish in 1775, the U.S. gained control in 1851.
From 1863 until 1946 Angel Island was an army base for the U.S.
Angel Island was also an immigration site from 1910 until 1940. The majority of immigrants that were processed as Angel Island were from China.
During World War II Angel Island was used to confine military prisoners.
From 1955 until 1962 Angel Island was also used as a radar missile site.
In the mid-1980s California State Parks decided to remove the Eucalyptus trees that had previously been planted by the military. The original 24 acres had expanded to 86 and needed to be removed for fire safety, as well as to help restore the natural flora of the island. Only six acres of eucalyptus were left.
Mule deer were introduced to Angel Island in 1915 by the army for hunting. The population exploded because of the lack of predators.
A fire in 2008 scorched approximately one-third of Angel Island. When the fire was extinguished, 380 of the 740 acres had been burned.
Today there are 11 environmental campsites for visitors to use on Angel Island.
The Parks Administration nearly demolished the historical buildings in 1970 after a ranger rediscovered the immigration station used for detaining immigrants and prisoners of war. The ranger prevented this and started the interest in the site's history.
Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation was established in 1983, and the foundation has helped to preserve and restore the site. They have also been responsible for much of the interpretation of the poetry written on the walls by Asian detainees.
The Angel Island Immigration Station became a National Historical Landmark in 1997.
While filming the movie The Candidate, starring Robert Redford, the former employee cottages on the island were burned down (with permission).
Angel Island is an important historical site because of the discrimination immigrants faced there and the poetry many wrote on the walls while they were detained.
National Angel Island Day was declared on January 21st, 2010 by President Barack Obama, commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the Immigration Station's opening. The day is meant to honor all those who were both allowed to enter the U.S. and all those who faced hardship and discrimination at the facility.


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