Castle Clinton, was first re-purposed for the Emigrant Landing Depot on August 1, 1855. It was the first centralized processing center for immigrants in the country. At that time, immigrant processing was completed by the states rather than the Federal government.
It is believed that at least 8 million, and possibly as many as 12 million immigrants were processed through Castle Clinton.
Two years after taking over, on January 2, 1892, the Federal government moved immigrant processing to Ellis Island, preferring it for its isolated location, and more room for expansion. Unfortunately, on June 15, 1897, a fire destroyed the first structures on Ellis Island, destroying most of the immigration records from Castle Clinton.
Among the notable people processed through Castle Clinton were:
-Saint Francesca Xavier Cabrini (also known as Mother Cabrini)
-Harry Houdini and his brother Hardeen
-Oscar Hammerstein I
-Vilmos Fried (also known as William Fox, founder of Fox Film Corp, precursor to 20th Century Fox)
-William Morris (founder of the William Morris Agency)
-Mary Mallon (also known as Typhoid Mary)