Coming to America
If you traveled to America between 1892 to 1954, you more than likely passed through what is considered the gateway to the United States, Ellis Island. Before it was a federal immigration station, it was an abundant oyster bed, a privately owned island, a federal arsenal and a military post.
Looking at America's history in terms of immigration is quite interesting, and you can see how the ebb and flow of the incoming people affected what was happening within the country and the rest of the world. The original processing building was opened on January 1, 1892 with seven hundred people waiting to come through that first day. But on June, 15 1897, the wooden building was destroyed by fire - not to mention almost all of the records.
The new, more fireproof, brick building opened in December of 1900. A total of twelve million people passed through Ellis Island while it was in operation, looking to make a new home in America. The busiest time would be 1907 when over one million people arrived that year alone.
So why come to America? The answers vary depending on the state of the world at the time, but everyone was seeking this land of opportunity. In the middle of the 19th century Europe hit a rough spot. The potato famine in Ireland was leaving people hungry and homeless. A revolution attempted failed miserably in Germany.
This culminated in the "first wave" of immigrants coming to America seeking a better life. It took the native New Yorkers some time to adjust to the abundance of new immigrants, but the melting pot had already been started and things eventually leveled out. These new groups of people established new mini cultures in their neighborhoods, combining their old world cultures and new world location.
The second wave came in the first decade of the 1900s, which made the first wave seem small at best! People were coming to the United States from every corner of the globe for many different reasons. Italian peasants who were forced off of their land found a fresh start here. People wanting to escape the Russian Empire, Eastern European Jews who sought relief from oppression and poverty all found the land of opportunity.
America wouldn't be what it is today without the influence and change brought by the immigrants who arrived here. Eduard Slinin, born in Russia, started from humble beginnings and eventually worked his way towards owning a successful transportation company. Isn't that what coming to America is all about? Being allowed to pursue your dreams with freedom and happiness.