In the October of last year, the East Coast was hit by Hurricane Sandy, causing the temporary shuttering of a number of historical sites, including Ellis Island. However, on October 28th 2013 the one-time immigration hub was finally reopened to the general public for the very first time since the hurricane.
Ellis Island is situated just off of Manhattan’s southern tip and was once the main point of entry into the United States for numerous immigrants between the years 1892 and 1924. In that time the island served as a processing centre for those immigrants entering the country in a period of history when the United States was happy to allow a much greater number of immigrants.
World War I saw a slowing in the number of immigrants, and Ellis Island was then made use of as a hospital and military base but in 1921 it witnessed the arrival of no fewer than 560,971 immigrants. The total immigration quota of the United States was restricted to just 164,000 with the Immigration Act of 1924, thus signaling the close of America’s period of mass immigration.
Today, when visitors attend Ellis Island, they can search for the names of all of the people who once passed through its gates. The island and the Statue of Liberty are maintained by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, which also develops exhibits and offers genealogy services on the island. Despite the reopening, however, over a million historical photos remain in storage.