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Ellis Island is a federal-owned island in New York Harbor. It served as a gateway for over 12 million immigrants who sought to live a life in the United States of America. It was known as the “Island of Hope.”
See the fact file below for more information on the Ellis Island or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Ellis Island worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The first immigration station in the United States of America was built and established on Ellis Island in 1890 under the tenure of former President Benjamin Harrison.
- The first station opened on January 1, 1892. It was a three-story tall structure made of Georgia pine.
- Through it, an estimated 1.5 million immigrants were processed during its first five years before a fire believed to be caused by faulty wiring burned the building to ashes on the 15th of June, 1897.
- The fire destroyed immigration records from as early as 1840. The station was temporarily relocated to Manhattan’s Battery Park.
- A competition was held in 1897 for the design and construction of a new fireproof station.
- Edward Lippincott Tilton and William A. Boring designed the new station in French Renaissance Revival style. It was built with red brick and limestone trims. Its largest building is now seen as a symbol of American immigration.
- It was reopened on December 17, 1900.
- Ellis Island could barely handle the influx of immigrants before World War I began. The government decided to expand the island with landfill and build additional structures.
- The second island is where the ward for contagious diseases was built. The third island houses the psychiatric ward.
- Ellis Island was originally only three acres in size, but by 1906, it had expanded to more than 27 acres.
- Between 1900 to 1914, Ellis Island processed almost 10,000 immigrants daily.
- In 1924, an Immigration Act was passed, limiting the number of total annual immigrants to 165,000.
- The immigration center processed its last batch of immigrants on November 12, 1954.
- Ellis Island is now under the jurisdiction of the US National Park Service as part of the Statue of Liberty.
- It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1965 and was opened to the public in 1976 as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
- In 1982, funds were raised by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation for the restoration and preservation of the island.
- Restoration began in 1984 and Ellis Island was reopened again in 1990. Since then, more than 30 million Americans have visited Ellis Island seeking to trace the steps of their ancestors.
- Approximately 40 percent of US citizens can trace their ancestry to Ellis Island.
- The museum was officially renamed to Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration on May 20, 2015.
The Immigration Process
- Immigrants came to America through Ellis Island by boarding a steamship.
- The ships divide the passengers according to wealth and class. First and second class passengers got to stay in rooms and cabins while the third class passengers stayed in the steerage.
- When a ship arrived at the New York Harbor, the first thing that passengers would see is the famous Statue of Liberty.
- Every ship that arrived at Ellis Island got inspected by health officers.
- There was no need for the first and second class passengers to get processed right away and could leave the ship upon docking in New York – they didn’t go to Ellis Island.
- Third-class passengers needed to ride a small ferry boat to take them to Ellis Island for the immigration process.
- There was a Baggage Room where immigrants could leave their belongings before proceeding with the immigrations process.
- The Registry Room, where the medical and legal inspection occured, was dubbed as the Great Hall because of its size.
- Women travelling alone were not allowed to enter America until after World War II.
- In 1907, a rule was implemented that a child aged below 16 needed to be accompanied by a parent.
- Anyone who had dangerous, contagious diseases was forbidden to enter the country because of the Immigration Act of 1891.
- Immigrants couldn’t proceed to the legal inspection unless they passed the medical examination.
- During the legal inspection, the immigrants were asked 29 questions by an inspector who would decide if their answers qualified.
- After World War I ended, immigrants were required to undergo medical and legal inspections in US government offices in their home country before they left for Ellis Island.
- Starting in 1924, Ellis Island served only as a detention center for immigrants.
- Prior to 1925, visas and passports weren’t required in the immigration process.
- Ellis Island is known as the “Isle of Hope”, but for those who failed the medical and legal inspections, it was the “Isle of Tears”.
- Immigrants who didn’t pass the process were taken back to their home country free of charge.
- There is a post office, a railway ticketing office, and a money-exchange office in the Great Hall.
- An area on the first floor where families and friends would wait for their loved ones became known as “the kissing post”.
- The whole immigration process usually took just a few hours if everything went well.
Ellis Island Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Ellis Island across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Ellis Island worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Ellis Island which is a federal-owned island in New York Harbor. It served as a gateway for over 12 million immigrants who sought to live a life in the United States of America. It was known as the “Island of Hope.”
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Ellis Island Facts
- Enriching Vocabulary
- Yes or No
- Dates to Remember
- Due Process: Then and Now
- National Monuments
- Missing Info
- Ellis Island Word Hunt
- Image Ideas
- A Trip to the Museum
- New York Landmarks
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Link will appear as Ellis Island Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, November 26, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.