On This Day, Jan. 1, 1892 – Ellis Island Starts Processing Immigrants
1892 – Ellis Island Immigrant Station formally opened in New York.
In the 35 years before Ellis Island opened, over eight million immigrants arriving in New York had been processed by New York State officials at Castle Garden Immigration Depot in lower Manhattan, just across the bay. The federal government assumed control of immigration on April 18, 1890, and Congress appropriated $75,000 to construct America’s first Federal immigration station on Ellis Island. Artesian wells were dug, and landfill was hauled in from incoming ships’ ballast and from construction of New York City’s subway tunnels, which doubled the size of Ellis Island to over six acres. While the building was under construction, the Barge Office nearby at the Battery was used for immigrant processing.
The first federal immigrant inspection station was an enormous three-story-tall structure, with outbuildings, built of Georgia pine, containing all of the amenities that were thought to be necessary. It opened with celebration on January 1, 1892. Three large ships landed on the first day and 700 immigrants passed over the docks. Almost 450,000 immigrants were processed at the station during its first year. On June 15, 1897, a fire of unknown origin, possibly caused by faulty wiring, turned the wooden structures on Ellis Island into ashes. No loss of life was reported, but most of the immigration records dating back to 1855 were destroyed. About 1.5 million immigrants had been processed at the first building during its five years of use.
Plans were immediately made to build a new, fireproof immigration station on Ellis Island. During the construction period, passenger arrivals were again processed at the Barge Office.
By the time it closed on Nov. 12, 1954, 12 million immigrants had been processed.
0404 – The last gladiator competition was held in Rome.
1622 – The Papal Chancery adopted January 1st as the beginning of the New Year (instead of March 25th).
1772 – The first traveler’s checks were issued in London.
1785 – London’s oldest daily paper “The Daily Universal Register” (later renamed “The Times” in 1788) was first published.
1801 – The Act of Union of England and Ireland came into force.
1801 – Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi became the first person to discover an asteroid. He named it Ceres.
1804 – Haiti gained its independence.
1808 – The U.S. prohibited import of slaves from Africa.
1840 – The first recorded bowling match was recorded in the U.S.
1863 – President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that all slaves in the rebel states were free.
1898 – Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island were consolidated into New York City.
1900 – Hawaii asked for a delegate to the Republican national convention.
1901 – The Commonwealth of Australia was founded. Lord Hopetoun officially assumed the duties as the first Governor-General.
1902 – The first Tournament of Roses (later the Rose Bowl) collegiate football game was played in Pasadena, CA.
1909 – The first payments of old-age pensions were made in Britain. People over 70 received five shillings a week.
1913 – The post office began parcel post deliveries.
1934 – Alcatraz Island officially became a Federal Prison.
1934 – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) began operation.
1936 – The “New York Herald Tribune” began microfilming its current issues.
1937 – The First Cotton Bowl football game was played in Dallas, TX. Texas Christian University (T.C.U.) beat Marquette, 16-6.
1939 – The Hewlett-Packard partnership was formed.
1942 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued a declaration called the “United Nations.” It was signed by 26 countries that vowed to create an international postwar World War II peacekeeping organization.
1945 – France was admitted to the United Nations.
1958 – The European Economic Community (EEC) started operations.
1959 – Fidel Castro overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista, and seized power in Cuba.
1968 – Evel Knievel, stunt performing daredevil, lost control of his motorcycle midway through a jump of 141 feet over the ornamental fountains in front of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
1971 – Tobacco ads representing $20 million dollars in advertising were banned from TV and radio broadcast.
1973 – Britain, Ireland, Denmark and Norway joined the EEC.
1975 – The magazine “Popular Electronics” announced the invention of a personal computer called Altair.
1984 – AT&T was broken up into 22 Bell System companies under terms of an antitrust agreement with the federal government.
1986 – Spain and Portugal joined the European Community (EC).
1987 – A pro-democracy rally took place in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square (China).
1990 – David Dinkins was sworn in as New York City’s first black mayor.
1993 – Czechoslovakia split into two separate states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The peaceful division had been engineered in 1992.
1994 – The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect.
1995 – Frederick West, an alleged killer of 12 women and girls, was found hanged in his jail cell in Winston Green prison, in Birmingham. West had been under almost continuous watch since his arrest in 1994, but security had reportedly been relaxed in the months preceding the apparent suicide.
1998 – A new anti-smoking law went into effect in California. The law prohibiting people from lighting up in bars.
1999 – In California, a law went into effect that defined “invasion of privacy as trespassing with the intent to capture audio or video images of a celebrity or crime victim engaging in a personal or family activity.”
Source: Wikipedia.org; On-This-Day.com