One of over 200 historical markers on the island, this marker highlights Galveston as a port of entry for immigrants in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. The marker was erected in 1993 by the Texas Historical Commission.
“Galveston was the port of entry for thousands of immigrants who settled in Texas and the southwest. Federal laws enacted in 1875 ended the unrestricted entry of immigrants into the country and led to the establishment of the area’s first U. S. Immigration Station at Galveston’s Pier 29. There U. S. Customs officials conducted medical exams, baggage inspections and formal processing of immigrants; those found to be diseased or incapacitated faced deportation.”
“The U. S. Congress chose Galveston over New Orleans as the site of a major new Federal immigration station in 1906. Plans to build an impressive immigrant landing station on Pelican Island comparable to New York’s Ellis Island facility were never fully realized. The scaled-down station, fully operational by 1913, was damaged by hurricane winds in 1915 and closed in 1916. The immigration offices were subsequently relocated to a building on Galveston’s 21st Street.”
“A new 3-story immigration station containing immigration offices, dormitories, medical facilities, a kitchen, and dining and recreational areas was completed here at 1700 Strand Avenue in 1933. It was used as an immigration and deportee-staging facility until about 1940 when it was converted for use as a U. S. Customs Office.”