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Immigration
Ellis Island



Ellis Island
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.55

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    restoration, original, wells, federal, military, paperwork, than, million, easily, unsafe, rarely, docks, jobs, pass, dynamite, fireproof
     content words:    Ellis Island, United States, Gull Island, Native Americans, Samuel Ellis, New York, World War, National Parks Service


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Ellis Island
By Cathy Pearl
  

1     Ellis Island opened January 1, 1892. More than twelve million immigrants would pass through the island's immigration station between 1892 and 1954. The most came through in 1907. There are estimates that forty percent of people in the United States today had an ancestor that went through Ellis Island.
 
2     Ellis Island was first called Gull Island by Native Americans. At that time, gulls were the only things that lived on it. It was very small, about three acres. The island was made of soft mud. It was so small that it was barely above the water during high tide.
 
3     In 1630, a different owner bought the island. It was used as a place to catch oysters. The island was not good for much else. This owner did not keep the island long. Because it wasn't good for much, it was sold many times during the next one hundred years.
 
4     About 1776, Samuel Ellis became the owner of the island. He tried to sell the island and couldn't. Before he died, he tried to give the island to the state. He died before the paperwork was finished.
 
5     In 1794, New York leased the island. They thought it was a great place to build a fort. There would be a lot of construction problems. But the Ellis family could still change their minds about the lease. If they did, all buildings on the island would have to be torn down.

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