The Immigration Museum
|Heading to Ellis Island on the ferry|
|After 1924, Ellis Island became primarily a detention and deportation processing station. During and immediately following World War II Ellis Island was used to intern German merchant mariners and enemy aliens - American civilians or immigrants detained for fear of spying, sabotage, etc. Some 7,000 Germans, Italians and Japanese would be detained at Ellis Island. Sort of an early times Guantanamo. It was also a processing center for returning sick or wounded U.S. soldiers, and a Coast Guard training base. Ellis Island still managed to process tens of thousands of immigrants a year during this time, but many fewer than the hundreds of thousands a year who arrived before the war. After the war immigration rapidly returned to earlier levels. The Internal Security Act of 1950 barred members of communist or fascist organizations from immigrating to the United States. Ellis Island saw detention peak at 1,500, but by 1952, after changes to immigration law and policies, only 30 detainees remained.|
The first immigrant to pass through Ellis Island was Annie Moore, a 15-year-old girl from Cork, Ireland, who arrived on the ship Nevada on January 1, 1892. She and her two brothers were coming to America to meet their parents, who had moved to New York two years prior. She received a greeting from officials and a $10 gold piece. It was the largest sum of money she had ever owned. The last person to pass through Ellis Island was a Norwegian merchant seaman by the name of Arne Peterssen in 1954.
New York City skyline from the ferry near Ellis Island
The hospital section of Ellis Island (under restoration)
Les Paul's Spirit of America Gibson guitar
Was the Immigration Processing Center and now the Immigration Museum
Representation of items that immigrants brought to this country with them
A photo of a photo of actual immigrants arriving at Ellis Island
Another photo of immigrants, people filled with hope
A photo of a photo of actual luggage and immigrant belongings
This was taken from the deck of the ferry as we docked
A model of Ellis Island
|We docked on the right side of the slip running up the center of the island. The left half of the island contained the hospital and housing. This area is off limits to visitors and is undergoing a restoration. The right half of the island was the processing area and now contains the museum.|
Another photo of some immigrants
Lady Liberty from Ellis Island
|I was really happy to see Chief Joseph represented among the historical displays.|
"I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead, Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes and no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are -- perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs, I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever."
Most historical accounts state that Joseph gave this short speech as he surrendered to General Howard and Colonel Miles, but it was undoubtedly made before the surrender to the other remaining chiefs in the band. He wanted to give them the choice to attempt an escape to Canada or surrender with him. And, in fact, upon his surrender to Howard and Miles, he was able to stall the surrender long enough for many of his people to make their escape. One of those was his daughter.
The surrender agreement contained many promises to Joseph and his people, but not one of them was kept. Miles, who later became a General, made many attempts to enforce the terms of the surrender, but, because of Genarals Sherman and Sheridan overruling him, he was unsuccessful. Joseph was never allowed to return to his homeland and died in exile at the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington state.
Back Outside and Flowers
|A myth persists that government officials on Ellis Island compelled immigrants to take new names against their wishes. In fact, no historical records bear this out. Federal immigration inspectors were under strict supervision and were more interested in preventing inadmissible aliens from entering the country (for which they were held accountable) than in assisting them in trivial personal matters such as altering their names. The inspectors used the passenger lists given to them by the steamship companies to process each foreigner. These were the sole immigration records for entering the country and were prepared not by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration but by steamship companies such as the Cunard Line, the White Star Line, the North German Lloyd Line, the Hamburg-Amerika Line, the Italian Steam Navigation Company, the Red Star Line, the Holland America Line, and the Austro-American Line. The Americanization of many immigrant families' surnames was for the most part adopted by the family after the immigration process, or by the second or third generation of the family after some assimilation into American culture. However, many last names were altered slightly due to the disparity between English and other languages in the pronunciation of certain letters of the alphabet. I have personal knowledge of this practice of changing name after immigration. The German name Victor was changed by family to Victorski, because of the neighborhood in which they lived. There was not much love between Germans and Poles in the 1940s. Also, several of my classmates Americanized their names prior to graduating from college.|
Taken just before boarding the ferry for Liberty Island
Unidentified building, also off limits
The photo on the left was also taken just prior to boarding for Liberty
Island. The photo above was taken on board just before we shoved off.
I chose the upper level on the trips going out to allow for better
photographic possibilities. On the return trip to Liberty State Park,
I would stay on the bottom deck level in order to get off the boat sooner
and head back to Arvie and Budder.
Back To The Ferry
My ship is coming in
Headed for Liberty Island
Goodbye, Ellis island