This vintage postcard shows Ellis Island in 1907 and is a page out of American History. Ellis Island sits in the upper part of New York City Bay near the New Jersey shore and was used as the federal immigration processing station for over sixty years.
From 1892 until 1954, over 12 million immigrant steamship passengers were processed through Ellis Island federal immigration station. Estimates are that, today, over forty percent of America’s population can trace their ancestry through Ellis Island.
Prior to 1890, each state regulated immigration rather than the federal government. However, a large migration of peoples during the 1800s, escaping religious and political persecution in Europe, pushed the state’s ability to judiciously handle the influx. The federal government passed legislation and took over the task of processing immigrants into this country.
The structure on Ellis Island, opened on January 1, 1892. Since this vintage postcard is only ten years later, it would have looked much like the picture in the old postcard.
Authors Note: “My own grandparents and mother came through Ellis Island having arrived from Ireland in 1928, just about ten years after this postcard was created. I am a first generation American citizen on my mother’s side – an Irish / American, while my children are about a 20th generation American being descended from two Mayflower passengers, Francis Cooke’s son who married Demaris Hopkins.”
The United States has a fine history of being built by people who emigrated from other parts of the world. This is our strength because it took great courage to leave family and home, travel to a place unknown, and build a new life. This is what makes our country so great and so strong – we are a gathering of people who hope for a better future. This was true in 1907 and is still true today.
Ellis Island, New York, as shown in this vintage postcard, is a great symbol of the spirit of the people that traveled to the United States to build their lives as Americans. Today, Ellis Island is a National Monument run by the U.S. National Parks Service and open as a tourist attraction.