Historic Ellis Island Restoration

This month marks the 33rd anniversary of the restoration of Ellis Island.

In the mid-1980s, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation initiated the monumental task of restoring Ellis – at the time, the largest historical restoration in U.S. history. The project focused on the Main Immigration Building, including the Great Hall, which was restored to its 1920s appearance. The restoration was completed two years ahead of schedule and funded entirely by private donations.

On September 10, 1990, the restored Ellis Island was unveiled to the public. Vice President Dan Quayle led the opening celebration, reflecting on what Ellis Island symbolized to America:

“This red brick world of Ellis Island was their gateway, a place of almost mythic transformation. Through one door entered Russians, Greeks, Italians, Jews. Through another door, they emerged Americans.” 

If walls could talk, we would hear countless stories of immigrants’ hopes and tears. The Foundation is honored to have played a part in preserving this important piece of American history. 

For even more about the restoration, click here.

Ellis, historic, black and white