The 2021 New Jersey History
and Historic Preservation Conference
Operated today by the National Park Service, Ellis Island first opened in 1892 as a federal immigration station, a purpose it served for more than 60 years. Known as the Island of Hope, Island of Tears, millions of newly arrived immigrants who had traveled in second or third class passed through the station during that time. Upon arrival on Ellis Island, they were subjected to a health inspection and required to meet certain legal standards to gain entry. It is estimated that close to 40 percent of all current U.S. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island.
While you’re in the area: Situated in Liberty State Park, the Central Railroad of New Jersey helped upwards of 10.5 million people processed at Ellis Island start their new lives in New Jersey or surrounding states. You can also see the 911 Memorial, located adjacent to the terminal.
Where to eat: Worked up an appetite after exploring Ellis Island and Liberty State Park? Head to Downtown Jersey City where you will find an abundance of restaurants located in historic buildings. Our favorites include Skinner’s Loft, a farm fresh American bistro, the Roman Nose, known for its meatballs and homemade pasta, and Oracle, featuring authentic Mexican cuisine.