From The New York Times:
The Fort That Let Outsiders In
By SAM ROBERTS
Published: July 29, 2005
The government has been keeping tabs on immigrants since 1820, and Castle Garden at the Battery, originally built to defend New York from foreigners, was the city's first official debarkation point. It was the gateway for immigrants until 1890, when federal officials took over responsibility for the newcomers, who were processed first at the nearby Barge Office and, starting in 1892, on Ellis Island.
Ellis Island may claim more of the ancestral spotlight, but Castle Garden was no slouch. More than one in six native-born Americans are descendants of the eight million immigrants who entered the United States through Castle Garden in Lower Manhattan beginning 150 years ago next Monday.
On Monday, Warrie Price, the founder and president of the conservancy, a nonprofit group formed to rebuild the 23-acre park, will also begin a free Web site for scholarly and genealogical research, CastleGarden.org, which includes a database of more than 10 million of the 12 million immigrants who arrived at the Port of New York from 1820 to 1892.
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