At Statue of Liberty National Monument, Save Ellis Island, Inc., Works to Restore Ellis Island's Time-Ravaged Buildings





When Ellis Island became part of Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, its more than 30 buildings were in terrible condition. The north side's Main Building and some supporting buildings were restored by 1990, but that left 29 buildings on the south side and a major structure (the Baggage and Dormitory Building) on the north side still badly in need of restoration. Save Ellis Island, Inc. was formed in 2000 to work with the National Park Service, the State of New Jersey, and other partners to restore and reuse these 30 buildings.

Ellis Island, which actually consists mostly of landfill, is located in the upper bay of New York harbor, just off the New Jersey shoreline and close to Liberty Island (where the Statue of Liberty is situated). Ellis Island opened on New Year's Day 1892 as a detention/deportation center and subsequently became the main receiving center for European immigrants – "The Gateway to the New World." More than 12 million immigrants were processed through the Main Building's Great Hall, and today over 100 million Americans – including the author of this article -- have ancestors who came through Ellis Island.

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