Castle Garden, New York Immigrant Landing Station
Landing Immigrants at Castle Garden. Harper's New Monthly Magazine, June 1884. GGA Image ID # 14bb9d02ed
Castle Garden, originally known as Castle Clinton, was a circular fort built on an artificial island some 200 feet off the Battery in lower Manhattan. It was connected to the Battery by a bridge.
Before it became an immigrant depot in 1855, Castle Garden was a center of the social, cultural, and political activities of the city. During its lifetime as an immigrant depot (1855-1890), Castle Garden had welcomed 8,280,917 of the total 10,956,910 aliens to arrive in this country during that period.
Books, brochures, articles, and other ephemera provided Illustrations of the conditions and experiences of immigrants who chose to enter the United States via Castle Garden in New York from 1855 through 1890. Students and Family Historians are welcome to use these illustrations for your reports and family histories.
The rapidly increasing business in the Labor Exchange at Castle Garden has induced the Commissioners of Emigration to erect a new and commodious frame building, to be used as a labor depot.
The Labor Exchange lately organized at Castle Garden, the landing-place for emigrants to this city, is one of the most valuable and successful institutions in New York.
This will be called out inside in the rotunda, and if she has been on board she will be sent in to you, when there will be any quantity of questions to put and an-swore to make. It certainly is interesting to witness these 'meetings, as I did.
The State of New York has established a Landing Depot for Immigrants at Castle Garden in the port of New York. The work centering there is done in departments, of which the following description is abridged from a pamphlet on Immigration, by Mr. Friedrich Kapp, late of the Commissioners of Immigration of the State.
The island is the property of the Commissioners of Emigration, containing about 200 acres, and situated in the East River, a few miles from Castle Garden.
It is a curious fact, by the way, that as many German emigrants come to America via Liverpool as come in the German steamers direct from Hamburg or Bremen. They are conveyed to Hull by water, and thence across England to Liverpool by rail.
The volume of immigration to the United States for 1880 promises to be enormous. In 1879 the number of arrivals of aliens at the port of New York was 179,589; in 1878, 129,866; in 1877, 109,055. In the first four months of 1880 the number of arrivals has reached 81,262, or nearly half of the total of 1879.
The tenders speedily reach their destination, and the landing is effected. In a single file, the newcomers filter into the enormous rotunda, and Mr. George Morrel, the courteous police officer in charge, ushers them towards the registering clerk.
Castle Garden, situated at the foot of the Battery park and on the extreme southern point of Manhattan Island, is now used as the immigrant depot, where those who come from the Old to find homes in the New. World first find a resting-place, and receive their initial and usually erroneous impression of their new home. Article also discusses Commissioners of Emigration, Immigrants, and Ward's Island.
A New industry has recently been developed at Castle Garden, in New York city—that of wife-hunting among the emigrant girls. Almost every day the Superintendent receives letters from persons desirous of securing wives without the trouble of a long courtship.
The vast immigration in time excited alarm in two different degrees. It threw a vast quantity of skilled and unskilled labor on the market, and native-born mechanics especially began to feel the effect of the competition.
The Commissioners of Emigration organized on May 8, 1847. 'Their first official quarters were in the old almshouse building, New York city, where the county courthouse now stands. They remained there until January 19, 1854, when the structure was destroyed by fire.
Governor's Island will replace Castle Garden, New York, as the landing place of immigrants arriving in this country at the port of New York. It may take several days yet to determine the legal status of Governor's Island.
Article responds to the questions: Who was the first to propose Castle Garden for the benefit of foreign immigrants? Is the board of management a National or a State organization? How did if originate?
This article is based on a study by Dr. George J. Svejda, Division of History, Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, National Park Service. U. S. Department of Interior, dated December 2. 1968. entitled "Castle Garden as An Immigrant Depot. 1855-1890."
Unlisted, uninspected, with or without means of support so far as anybody knew or cared to know, they were free to swarm on shore. With a rush and a shout the tumultuous crowd fled from their fetid quarters and bounded on shore, becoming almost at once and by that simple act citizens of the Great Republic!