History & Culture
Welcome to Ellis Island!
From 1892 to 1924, Ellis Island was America's largest and most active immigration station, where over 12 million immigrants were processed. On average, the inspection process took approximately 3-7 hours. For the vast majority of immigrants, Ellis Island truly was an "Island of Hope" - the first stop on their way to new opportunities and experiences in America. For the rest, it became the "Island of Tears" - a place where families were separated and individuals were denied entry into this country.
Meet some of the "PEOPLE" who helped to make up the story of Ellis Island such as the workers who kept Ellis Island running, and helped immigrants make their way into America.
The "PLACES" in Ellis Island's timeline show us how people have utilized this speck of land in New York Harbor for hundreds of years.
The "STORIES" of Ellis Island's 'unsung' immigrants speak to all of us. Read some of these stories here.
Our extensive "COLLECTIONS" help us learn about the histories of both Ellis and Liberty Islands through tangible objects.
Here are additional resources to learn more about immigration.
A Bibliography of books about Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Did You Know?
On July 30, 1916, a major explosion at the railway terminals on the Black Tom Wharf in Jersey City did considerable damage to the Ellis Island buildings. The walls, ceilings, roofs and foundations of the hospital buildings were weakened, and many windows, casings and doors were blown out. The repairs to the facilities took about a year at a cost of nearly $400,000.00(about $8,333,333.33 in 2012).