Main Building Detail, Ellis Island
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When I originally tried to picture Ellis Island I thought of practical buildings, serving a basic purpose. Indeed. When her doors first opened to welcome newcomers on January 1, 1892, it was a simple building - a former fort.
By the time more than 12 million people passed through her doors before she was closed in 1954, the 'island' had expanded two three interlinked islands built from landfill, and each subsequen addition had grown more elaborate.
Entering buildings such as these reminds me of the grandeur of London's Victoria and Albert and British Museums. Only steerage passengers had to go through Ellis Island - those with cabins were given their physicals and other tests in the comfort of their cabins and delivered safely to New York City before their ships turned to Ellis Island. Exhausted, the comforting sights of such splendid buildings must have given them new hope for their unknown futures.
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