The Ellis Island Immigration Center was officially dedicated on New Yearâ€™s Day in 1892. On that day, a fifteen-year-old Irish girl, Annie Moore, from County Cork, was the first person processed at Ellis Island. She arrived on the SS Nevada and was presented with a ten-dollar gold piece. This first station would last only five years. A fire destroyed the pine frame buildings in 1897 and the receiving station reopened in 1900.
By the time Ellis Island closed in 1954, more than 16 million immigrants passed through this gateway. Nearly half the current population of the United States is directly related to immigrants who passed through this gateway to liberty.
In February, a typhus outbreak in New York is traced to immigrants, mostly Jews from Eastern Europe, who arrived on the Massilia. Health officials race to quarantineÂ immigrants from the ship, both sick and healthy. This and a later outbreak of cholera in New York spur the National Quarantine Act of 1893. The book â€œQuarantine! East European Jewish Immigrants and the New York City Epidemics of 1892,â€ by Howard Markel examines this period. The Middletown Daily Times (Middletown, New York) for 16 February 1892 also contains reports on the efforts to quarantine immigrants who arrived on the Massilia.
There was also a cholera epidemic in parts of Russia and Germany. In Hamburg, 142,000 people (13 percent of the population) diedÂ of the disease.
On the technological front, AT&TÂ opened the first commercial long-distance phone line from New York to Chicago. It could only handle one call at a time, and the price was steep, even by todayâ€™s standards–$9.00 for the first five minutes.
Americans were humming Daisy Bell (a.k.a., Bicycle Built for Two) and the world was introduced to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson when Arthur Conan Doyle published The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,Â naming the main character for Oliver Wendell Holmes.
In sports, the first official basketball game was played. The first nets were actually peach baskets.Â No word on who won the game.