Ellis Island


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Ellis Island is located in the Upper New York Bay in Jersey City, New Jersey, east of Liberty State Park and north of Liberty Island. According to the United States Census Bureau the island has a land area of 32.030 acres (12.962 ha), of which more than 83 percent was created through landfill. The original portion of the island is 5.302 acres (2.146 ha) and is completely surrounded by landfilled sections. The original 3.3 acres (1.3 ha) are part of New York City, while the surrounding land and water are part of Jersey City. The entire Ellis Island has been owned and administered by the U.S. federal government since 1808.
Public access is by ferry from either Communipaw Terminal in Liberty State Park or from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. The Ellis Island same ferry routes provide service to the nearby Statue of Liberty. A bridge built for transporting materials and personnel during restoration projects connects Ellis Island with Liberty State Park, but is not open to the public. Proposals made in 1995 to use it or replace it with a new bridge for pedestrians were opposed by the city of New York and the private ferry operator at that time, Circle Line. Since September 11, 2001, the island is guarded by patrols of the United States Park Police Marine Patrol Unit.

After the Ellis Island immigration station closed in November 1954, the buildings fell into disrepair and were all but abandoned. Attempts at redeveloping the site were unsuccessful until its landmark status was established. On October 15, 1965, Ellis Island was proclaimed a part of Statue of Liberty National Monument. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.
Boston based architecture firm Finegold Alexander + Associates Inc, together with the New York architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle, designed the restoration and adaptive use of the Beaux-Arts Main Building, one of the most symbolically important structures in American history. A construction budget of $150 million was required for this significant restoration. This money was raised by a campaign organized by the political fundraiser Wyatt A. Stewart. The building reopened on September 10, 1990. Exhibitions include Hearing Room, Peak Immigration Years, the Peopling of America, Restoring a Landmark, Silent Voices, Treasures from Home, and Ellis Island Chronicles. There are also three theaters used for film and live performances.
As part of the National Park Service's Centennial Initiative, the south side of the island will be the target of a project to restore the 28 buildings that have not yet been rehabilitated.
The "Wall of Honor" outside of the main building contains a partial list of immigrants processed on the island. Inclusion on the list is made possible by a donation to support the facility. In 2008, the museum's library was officially named the Bob Hope Memorial Library in honor of one the station's most famous immigrants.
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is awarded annually at ceremonies on the island.

Ellis Island in the New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States as the site of the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 to 1954. Before that, the much smaller original island was the site of Fort Gibson and later a naval magazine. The island was greatly expanded with landfill between 1892 and 1934. Since 1990, restored on the island host a museum of immigration run by the National Park Service as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. A 1998 United States Supreme Court decision found most of the island to be part of New Jersey.

The Ellis Island wooden structure built in 1892 to house the immigration station burned down after five years. The station's new Main Building, which now houses the Immigration Museum, was opened in 1900. Architects Edward Lippincott Tilton and William Alciphron Boring received a gold medal at the 1900 Paris Exposition for the building's design. The architecture competition was the second under the Tarsney Act, which had permitted private architects rather than government architects in the Office of the Supervising Architect to design federal buildings.