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Ellis Island – Timeline

Ellis Island Reopens One Year After Superstorm Sand

Ellis Island reopened its door to the public on Monday (October 28) for the first time in a year after damage from Superstorm Sandy destroyed its electrical, communication, water and sewage systems.  The partial opening brought enthusiastic visitors to the historic landmark, such as Christine and Edward Konarski, who are visiting from Chicago.  They heard during their visit to Liberty Island last week that Ellis Island would open during their trip to New York.  “We were glad that we could get to the Statue of Liberty, and while we were going there we heard that Ellis Island was opening up on Monday. We’re not leaving until little later today, so we got up early and got on the first boat and here we are and we are anxious to get inside and take a look at history,” she told Reuters.  Liberty Island reopened on July 4, but was closed from October 1 through 16 because of the federal shutdown of the United States government.  Both Liberty Island and Ellis Island are part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument managed by the National Park Service.  After the first federal immigration station opened on Ellis Island in 1892, more than 12 million immigrants, mostly from Europe, presented themselves for inspection in its halls. Almost all of them had sailed in steerage class, while first- and second-class passengers, who were perceived to be less likely to harbor either disease or criminal tendencies, were generally allowed to continue on to Manhattan.  In 1924, after immigration laws were tightened the station was used mainly to process deportations and war refugees until it closed in 1954.  About a third of the U.S. population today can trace their ancestry to someone who disembarked on Ellis Island.  Annette Karagaeanes (pronounced: Keh-ra-gee-nes), a visitor from Detroit, Michigan who is of Greek heritage, said that she was glad to have been able visit the island.  “It’s because my grandparents came through Ellis Island and I would really like to see their entry through the country and this is just a very important part of my heritage and my being American and them coming over here. So it’s great,” she explained.  Visitors were able to see the island’s famous views of the downtown Manhattan skyline and tour parts of the immigration museum in the island’s Beaux-Arts main building, including the Great Hall that was once crowded with newly arrived immigrants.  David Luchsinger, Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument was happy to see visitors again at the island.  “It’s been a whole year I haven’t seen visitors here so it means the world to me. It means the world to my staff to be back and open again,” said Luchsinger.  The National Park Service estimated the total cost of repairing the damage done on both islands at $77 million.  But on Ellis Island most of the repairs are invisible, Luchsinger explained.  “Most of the work that we have been done (doing) are interim fixes while we work on designing a permanent solution, which we have done. Now we have permanent solutions to make it as sustainable as possible so that in the event of another Hurricane Sandy we don’t have the same destruction,” he said.  Environmental controls are still not working, allowing mold to grow on the ceilings of the Great Hall.  The bulk of the museum’s collection of documents and historical artifacts is still in storage in Maryland at a National Archives facility while new climate-control systems can be installed in the building.  President Lyndon Johnson declared the 27.5-acre island to be part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum opened in the island’s main building in 1990. Published on Oct 29, 2013 by  News & Politics.

Timeline of Ellis Island

1890 – The Federal government establishes the Bureau of Immigration and selects Ellis Island as the site for construction of a new Federal immigration station for the port of New York.  The Battle of Wounded Knee in South Dakota results in the massacre of hundreds of American Indian men, women, and children.  In London, the first electric underground railway is put into service, costing two pence a journey.

1892 – The immigration station on Ellis Island is opened on January 1.  Financier J.P. Morgan organizes the creation of the General Electric Company.

1897 – Fire destroys the original wooden buildings on Ellis Island.  The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, largest hotel in the world, is opened By John Jacob Astor IV.

1900 – The Ellis Island Immigration Center reopens in its present Beaux-Arts style, designed by the architectural firm of Boring and Tilton.  U.S. Troops help to suppress the Boxer Rebellion in China.  The Trans-Siberian Railway opens, connecting Moscow with Irkutsk.

1907 – In a single day, 11,747 immigrants pass through Ellis Island.  Women in Norway are granted suffrage. (American women are granted the Right to vote in 1920).

1924 – The tide of immigrants through Ellis Island begins to wane.

Congress passes a law making all American Indians U.S. citizens.

Lenin dies in Russia, succeeded by a triumvirate that includes Josef Stalin.

1923 – Ellis Island is used as a detention center for enemy aliens.

Allied forces invade southern Italy after taking Sicily.

1954 – Ellis Island is officially closed and offered for bid. More than 12 million immigrants have passed through Ellis Island since 1892.   The U.S. Supreme Court declares racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

French Foreign Legion troops and pro-French Vietnamese are defeated at Dien Bien Phu by the forces of Ho Chih Minh.

1965 – Ellis Island becomes part of the National Park Service.

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