Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
By: Michael DeMoor
The Statue of Liberty
In 1865, Frenchman Edouard de Laboulaye first proposed an idea for a monument in the United States. Ten years later sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was told to make the sculpture by 1876 to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The whole thing was a joint effort, with France in charge of the statue itself and getting it to America, and the Americans were to build a pedestal for the statue. Although funding was slow in both countries, the Americans and the French managed to succeed in designing both a pedestal and a copper statue with an iron inner frame. To bring the Statue of Liberty to the United States, the statue was broken up into more than 300 pieces and was reassembled on the pedestal in four months. On October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland oversaw the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, permanently residing in New York City.
In 1865 the American government decided to replace the aged immigration station at Castle Garden, which closed in 1880. They chose Ellis Island as the next spot for an immigration station. The island's size is doubled using excess dirt and ships' ballast. Ellis Island Immigration Station opened on January 1, 1892. On this first day, Ellis Island greeted 700 immigrants. On June 15, 1897 a fire broke out on Ellis Island. Nobody, including the 200 immigrants at the station at the time, was hurt. Unfortunately, all records dating back to 1840 and the Castle Garden era were burned. The facility is reopened in December, and to make more space, two additional islands are eventually created. In 1917, Ellis Island is turned into an Army hospital and a detention center for hostile outsiders. In November 1954, Ellis Island is officially closed. In 1965, President Johnson put Ellis Island under care of the National Park Service as a part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. That year, about 50,000 people visit the island. In 2011, "Peopling America" is completed, exploring immigration from the Ellis Island era to present day.
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island both have a lot of symbolism. The Statue of Liberty was meant as a symbol of friendship between the United States and France. This is still true today, but it is now much more. Now, the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom. Her torch also symbolizes freedom and knowledge. Ellis Island symbolizes immigration. It also symbolizes the life-changing journey of the immigration process. Ellis Island also symbolizes freedom and America as a whole.