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Visiting Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Casey Chung, Wheatley Heights

Our fifth-grade class had a field trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. If you haven’t visited either place, you’re probably wondering what we learned, so I’ll tell you.

I learned that Ellis Island opened in 1892. The purpose of the Island was to process and inspect the immigrants who enter the United States. In 1890 the federal government took over regulating immigration from the individual states. In 1897 a fire completely destroyed the Island’s wooden buildings. In 1907, more people immigrated to the United States than any other year, a record that would hold for the next 80 years. About 1.25 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island that year. In 1954 Ellis Island officially closed, and in 1976 it was opened to the public for tours.

The Statue of Liberty was originally designed to commemorate the centennial of the Declaration of Independence. Sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, was commissioned to design the statue in 1875. The statue was completed in Paris in 1884. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886, 10 years later than anticipated.

For more information about Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, visit libertyellisfoundation.org

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