Ellis Island, USA
I’m excited to join up again this month with fellow blogger Fiona Ryan's A-Z Guidebook Travel Linkup over at Tiffin Bite Sized Adventures. This travel tale link-up goes from October 15th - October 22th, this time travels with the letter "E".
"E" is for Ellis Island, NY but mostly NJ, USA. Ellis Island was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States and was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. Today, over 100 million Americans, can trace their ancestry to the immigrants who first arrived in America at Ellis Island.
You can reach the island via a short Ferry ride from NY or Liberty State Park NJ. We went last Autumn with my Parents, my Abuela, and my Tío (Grandma's brother), every one of us having experienced different aspects of the American immigrant experience. I'm 1st generation American on my Mother's side and 2nd on my Father's. It was quite an emotional ferry ride, slow and steady up to that red beautiful building in the shadow of Lady Liberty.
I suggest taking a headset and a map for a self tour. As you walk from room to room, and hear and read stories of immigrants who've passed through these walls you'll encounter a range of emotions. Moving shoulder to shoulder with numerous other visitors from one room to another, you'll start to experience what it must have felt like for those new arrivals. Immigrants who were approved and passed the health inspection spent only a few hours there. They were asked 29 questions including name, occupation, and the amount of money carried. It was important to the government that they could support themselves and have money to get started, at least between $18-$25. Only about 2% were denied admission and sent back to their countries of origin for reasons ranging from contagious disease, and criminal background, to insanity.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite recollections from a young lady, circa 1917. She was being asked questions on the proper way to clean stairs by the doctors to determine her mental fitness and her capacity for finding a job. Her priceless retort, "I didn't came all this way to clean stairs." Needless to say she was allowed to enter and started her new life.
Ellis Island - USA
For more Letter "E" travel stories, visit A-Z Guidebook Linkup. Stay tuned next month for more travel, centering around the Letter "F"!