More than 100,000,000 Americans can trace their ancestry through Ellis Island. One million people per year entered the United States through here at its peak. On April 17, 1907, 11,747 immigrants arrived in a single day. All told, twelve million people came to America through Ellis Island. New arrivals generally spent between two and five hours here, answering quest and getting a check-up. Only two percent of people were rejected and sent home, usually for medical reasons.
Prior to becoming an immigration station, the island had been home to a small military installation called Fort Gibson. After immigration laws were strengthened in 1924, Ellis Island was mostly used for deportation and processing refugees. The immigration station was eventually closed in 1954. In 1965, Ellis Island was combined with Liberty Island to create the Statue of Liberty National Monument and in 1976 it reopened, this time as a destination for those wishing to learn more about the history of immigration.
Today it is one of New York’s most popular tourist attractions. It includes a museum dedicated to US immigration and a Wall of Honor that displays the names of over 200,000 immigrants. Tickets for cruises to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island can be booked through Statue Cruises.
Location: Ellis Island, New York Harbor