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Scenes from the Emigrant Experience

Port of Entry: Castle Garden, New York, Part One

By Bruce Weaver II

European Emigrants bound for New York from 1855 to 1890 were processed at Castle Garden, on the southwest tip of the Battery, Lower Manhattan.

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As emigrants approached their port of entry in busy New York Harbor, they had their first view of Castle Garden—at the right side of this image. From Picturesque America 1872/1874.

From the lofty height of the steeple of Trinity Church one had an expansive view of the harbor with the top of Castle Garden and its flags

at right. From Picturesque America 1872/1874.

 

A flood of emigrants just arriving was depicted in this image from Harper’s Weekly, May 1880.



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An exterior view of Castle Garden as seen in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, March 1871

Among the Veblen papers at the Norwegian American Historical Association in Northfield, MN are hundreds of questionnaires answered by many Valdris. This treasure trove of documents on emigration has been reproduced by the Valdres Samband and is available for viewing during their annual stevner (meetings). Here is the first page of one such survey filled out by Arne Knudson Bang of Montevideo, MN. Note on lines 8 and 9 that Mr. Bang identified his point of landing as Castle Garden in New York. He reported arriving there on June 11, 1875, having left Norway on May 17, 1875—nearly a month at sea.

 

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Last updated: December 26, 2016

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