- from Ellis Island
For 11 years, Ellis Island was empty and ignored. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed the island a national historic site. But Congress gave no money to fix it up.
Another nine years passed. In 1974, the Restore Ellis Island Committee asked Congress to restore it for the country’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. A few repairs were made. 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. Donations paid for the work. But the National Park Service oversaw the planning. Work began in 1983, and in 1990, a partially restored Ellis Island opened to the public. It had been closed for 36 years.