After the Revolution, the island was sold to New York State and in 1811, Fort Gibson was built on it in ... were erected in 1900 and it reopened.
A place for them to be to be either accepted or denied, race did not matter, social class did not matter, at Ellis Island everyone was an Immigrant, with the same goal of Making America their new home.
Surrounded by public controversy from its inception, the station was finally put into operation in 1910. Immigrants arrived from approximately , with Chinese immigrants constituting the single largest ethnic group entering at San Francisco until 1915, when Japanese outnumbered the Chinese for the first time. Widely known as the “Ellis Island of the West” the station differed from Ellis Island in one important respect – the majority of immigrants processed on Angel Island were from Asian countries, specifically China, Japan, Russia and South Asia (in that order). Dubbed as the “Guardian of the Western Gate,” by its staff, this facility was built to help keep Chinese and eventually other Asian immigrants out of the country.
In its early years, when the greatest number of immigrants entered the
country, Ellis Island mirrored the nation's generous attitude and open door policy.
This is a copy of the American Citizenship papers given to Joseph after being processed, probably through Ellis Island in NYC, and eventually settling in Cincinnati, OH.
Unlike Ellis Island, does not house immigration records accumulated during the time the Immigration Station was active on the island. Those valuable records are preserved and are available at the (NARA), whether you want to see if they contain clues about your family’s history, need to prove a veteran’s military service, or are researching an historical topic that interests you.
In 1941, following the departure of the Immigration Service from the island, the station property was returned to the Army, and it became the North Garrison of Fort McDowell. When World War II began, the old immigration barracks became a Prisoner of War Processing Center, and German and Japanese prisoners were processed there before being sent to permanent camps in the interior.
Over the years, it was suggested a number of times that the Immigration process be moved to another location. The island had been described as inadequate, expensive and inconvenient. In 1940, the government decided to move immigration services to the mainland, their decision hastened by a fire that destroyed the administration building in August of that year. On November 5th, the last group of about 200 immigrants, including about 150 Chinese, were transferred from Angel Island to temporary quarters in San Francisco.
With little to do on an isolated island, some detainees passed the time by expressing their feelings in poetry that they brushed or carved into the wooden walls. Others simply waited, fearing deportation, yet hoping for a favorable response to their appeals. Many of the poems carved into the walls are still legible today. Poems lost to layers of paint over the years, were unknowingly, in 1931-32, documented by two immigrants, Smiley Jann and Tet Yee, who copied the poetry while they awaited ruling of their cases.
For a lot of Americans, Ellis Island is a part of their family history. Over 12 million immigrants entered the United States via Ellis Island from 1892 to 1954. Today is the day to honor our American heritage and to remember the beautiful, defining words of Emma Lazarus: “‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'”
The first Chinese entered California in 1848, and within a few years, thousands more came, lured by the promise of Gam Sann or “Gold Mountain”. Soon, discriminatory legislation forced them out of the gold fields and into low-paying, menial jobs. They laid tracks for the Central Pacific Railroad, reclaimed swamp land in the Sacramento delta, developed shrimp and abalone fisheries, and provided cheap labor wherever there was work no other group wanted or needed.
Eventually the control of immigration was turned over
to the Federal government.
Ellis Island was the principal federal immigration station the “Gateway to America” in
the United States from 1892 to 1954.
1. Locate and identify a place or structure that you feel is quintessentially iconic of New York. In other words, if I were from another planet, what is the one place/thing that you would show me that would reveal the essential qualities of New York? You will, of course, need to explain what you feel are the essential qualities of New York.