Ellis Island

Jessica L.

Just imagine what you don't know

Have you ever wonder what is it like to be in the 1800s-1950s where immigration is flourishing on Ellis Island? Ellis Island is a island near New York City's harbor that is known for its immigration center for millions of immigrants. But, besides this do you actually know the history of Ellis Island or the requirements and process for immigrants to pass to America? Read on to travel into the time of immigration on Ellis Island.

The History of Ellis Island

Ellis Island; being one of the most famously well known gateway to America has tons of history that even you may not know. So allow me to tell you the wonderful history of Ellis Island. Firstly, the island was named after a Manhattan merchant by the name of Samuel Ellis; who had owned it in the 1770s. Before Ellis Island was a immigration center; ships' ballast dumped there and much of the island's current area consist of landfill. But, in the year of 1808, New York sold the island as a fort and a powder magazine to the federal government. The island soon became a dispute between the two states of New York and New Jersey. But soon in 1834 a agreement between the two states gave 3.3 acre of the Island to New York, whereas the rest of the island was given to New Jersey. Then in 1954 the immigration center of Ellis Island was closed after 62 years . Although, the Island didn't stop there, because in the year 1976 the island was reopened again by the National Park Service, and by the year 1980 the main building and other structures were restored. Then lastly in the year of 1990 Ellis Island was officially opened as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Today the wonderful Ellis Island is a part of Statue of Liberty National Monument ( along with nearby Liberty Island ).
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Ellis Island's Landfill

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The Ellis Island Immigration Museum

Requirements & Process

Since Ellis Island is a immigration center there must be a process, and some requirements for immigrants to go through, right? Indeed there is! The process is quite simple. Firstly, the first- and second-class passengers are examined on board to Ellis Island, whereas the steerage passengers are packed on barges or ferries that will take them to Ellis Island; where they would be examined. The examination was known as the "Six-second physical". During this examination newcomers waited in long lines to be examined by medical officers . Then when the immigrants are examined they would need to meet the requirements. One of the requirement was the Federal Immigration act of 1917. This act require that every immigrant over the age of fourteen must be able to read. Each immigrant from that year on were given simple literacy test in their native language. Another requirement are that you must be a normal human being. Some examples of not meeting this requirement is people who are criminals, insane, disabled, and people who have contagious diseases. But, overall 98% of the people who were examined on Ellis Island was allowed into America ( fun fact: the first immigrant to Ellis Island was a 15 year old girl from Ireland ).

But in the end

But, in the end; Ellis Island has its fair share of good history, and troubling but worth-meeting requirements. For example their "Six-second physical" and the New York and New Jersey dispute of the wonderful island. So, go visit the real Ellis Island besides my time-traveling experience to the wonderful and awesome Island ( Ellis Island is like a movie that had came to life ) !


Coppa, Frank J. "World Book Student | Article Page." World Book Student | Article Page. WORLD BOOK and GLOBE DEVICE, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2015.

"Ellis Island." Britannica School Middle. Britannica School Middle, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2015.

Foner, Nancy. "Ellis Island." American History. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Dec. 2015.