From the late 1800's to the mid-1950s, Ellis Island was a major gateway for over 12 million immigrants.
When Samuel Ellis died, New York State purchased Ellis Island from the Ellis family for $10,000.
Since it's opening it 1892, nearly 40 percent of all current U.S. immigrants can trace their ancestors back to the island.
The immigration station was known for its free dining services, which many immigrants appreciated after suffering from famine.
In 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Hart-Cellar Act, which set the framework for modern immigration laws, and issued Proclamation 3556, designating the island to the National Park Service for housing the Statue of Liberty.
The government used Ellis Island in both the War of 1812 and in the Revolutionary War.
Since 1976, Ellis Island has been open to the public as a tourist attraction.