- from Ellis Island
For 11 years, Ellis Island lay vacant and neglected. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed the island a national historic site. But Congress provided no money for repairs.
Another nine years passed. In 1974, the Restore Ellis Island Committee asked Congress to restore the island for the country’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. A few repairs were made, and the main building was opened to the public. In 1982, the Department of the Interior wanted to restore Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The goal was to have them ready for the statue’s 100th anniversary in 1986. Private donations paid for the work. The National Park Service oversaw the planning. Work began in 1983, and in 1990, 36 years after it had closed, a partially restored Ellis Island opened to the public.