1892 to 1954, over twelve million immigrants entered the United States
through Ellis Island. Ellis Island is a small island in the
New York Harbor. It's location is just off the New Jersey coast
in the upper bay and is within the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.|
Prior to 1890, the individual states regulated immigration into the United States. President Benjamin Harrison designated the island as the site for the first Federal immigration station in 1890. On June 14, 1897, a fire on Ellis Island burned the immigration station to the ground. No lives were lost but many years of Federal and State immigration records that dated back to 1855 burned to the ground along with the many pine buildings located on Ellis Island. The United States Treasury ordered a new facility be built with the stipulation that all future structures be fireproof. The new Main Building opened on December 17, 1900 and 2,251 immigrants were received that day.
The new structure on Ellis Island opened January 1, 1892. Annie Moore, a 12-year-old Irish girl was the first immigrant to be processed at Ellis Island on January 2.
While most immigrants entered the United States through New York Harbor, others entered through other ports such as Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, Savannah, Miami and New Orleans.
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