Ellis Island Facts

Ellis Island Facts
From 1892 until 1954 Ellis Island was the busiest immigration station in the United States. It is located in Upper New York Bay and although most of the Island is located in New Jersey, some of it is located in New York's boundaries as well. Prior to arrival of European settlers, the area provided a major food source for the Lenape as there were vast oyster banks in Upper New York Bay. The Dutch arrived, and Ellis, Liberty and Black Tom Islands were originally called Oyster Islands. Ellis Island had several names before it was acquired by Sam Ellis during the American Revolution. The island was leased in 1794, and eventually it was ceded to the U.S. in 1808. It served as a military post until it became an immigration station.
Interesting Ellis Island Facts:
Ellis Island has been called Little Oyster Island, Dyer's Island, Bucking Island, Gibbet Island and eventually Ellis Island.
Pirates were hung in the 1760s on Ellis Island.
The first immigration station built on Ellis Island in 1892 burned down in 1897. Before it burned approximately 1.5 million immigrants were processed there.
Prior to the opening of Ellis Island's Immigration Station, immigrants were processed as Castle Garden Immigration Depot, located across the bay in lower Manhattan. Approximately 8 million were processed there.
1907 was Ellis Island's busiest year. 1,004,756 immigrants were processed there in that year.
Approximately 2% of those who tried to immigrate to the United States through Ellis Island were refused. Reasons for refusal included disease, insanity and having a criminal background.
Ellis Island was also nicknamed 'Heartbreak Island', and 'The Island of Tears' because of the amount of those denied immigration.
To be admitted to the U.S. at Ellis Island, the government wanted immigrants to have at least $18. This was so that they had money to support themselves while they established themselves in the United States.
During and after World War II the island was used to detain approximately 7,000 Japanese, Italians and Germans, believed to be spies or guilty of sabotage.
Detained aliens and servicemen on Ellis Island were entertained by famous entertainers such as Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante, and Rudy Vallee.
It is believed that approximately 40% of all U.S. citizens today can trace an ancestor to Ellis Island.
The dining room in the Immigration Station on Ellis Island was capable of holding 1,000 diners at the same time.
In order to gain entry to the U.S., immigrants were required to answer 29 questions.
There was an untrue rumor that new immigrants into the United States through Ellis Island were forced to take new names even when they did not want to.
The medical facility at Ellis Island's Immigration Station was called U.S. Marine Hospital Number 43. The initial examination took approximately six seconds.
If immigrants were deemed medically inadmissible, some would wipe the chalk marks off their clothing that signified their inadmissibility and enter anyway.
Annie Moore, a 15-year-old from Ireland, was the first immigrant to pass through at Ellis Island.


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