An estimated 40% of Americans can trace their history to Ellis Island. Learn a ton of interesting facts about this historical landmark in less than three minutes.
From 1892 until 1954 Ellis Island was the main port of entry for immigrants to the USA. The original island was only 3.3 acres, but it was expanded to accommodate the immigration station. The fill supporting the expanded island came from the excavation of NYC subway tunnels. Almost 450,000 immigrants were processed during the first year of operation. The building had to be reconstructed after a fire in 1897. The new station housed a room for baggage, a dining hall with kitchen, dorms with 600 beds, a hospital, and an outdoor recreational area. Arrivals were inspected and sent on to be processed or examined further. Roughly 2% of immigrants were denied admission for disease, criminal background, or insanity. About one third of immigrants stayed in New York, and the rest found their way around the country. Legislation in the 1920s ended mass immigration and the number of immigrants steeply declined afterwards. After serving as a detention center and training area during WWII, the Ellis Island facility was shut down. Currently, Ellis Island is a museum where people can look up family records.