Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

American History


Alice Nishimoto, a 5th grade teacher at Rice Elementary School in the Garvey School District, was the featured speaker at the Monterey Park Historical Society meeting on November 6.

Ms. Nishimoto shared her experiences with the audience on her 2008 summer trip to Ellis Island. She provided a power point presentation and historical pictures of the new immigrants who reached our shores in New York from 1900 to 1924.

The immigrants from third class were subjects to several tests from the health inspectors who had the job to prevent people with contagious diseases from entering our country.

The immigrants were required to carry their two allow ed bags of their worldly possessions up three floors or 100 steps to see if they were in good general health. They were also subject to several health inspections. 10% of the people failed the health test.

Immigrants who did not pass the health inspections were either sent back to their home countries or placed in hospital units unit their health improved.

If they were declared physical fit and mentally fit to be able to work in factories and they had to provide proof they had $25 to provide for themselves and their families so they would not be on the public dough. They also provided personal information so their legal status could be checked.  It was illegal to have a job before entering the country unless you were a teacher, scientist or a domestic. Soon the $25 support fee was raised to $50 as more immigrants flocked to our country.

A hospital was built on the island in 12906 with large widows to blow the germs away. I t housed immigrants in units by disease.

The funeral costs were $127 for the immigrants who died on the island.

After Ellis Island the immigrants moved to a tenement district in New York to live while they found work.  The 97 Orchard Street tenement had 37 countries represented in that large house.

In 1903 Mayor La Guardia of New York declared that people need open space and several of the tenement houses were torn down.  Public housing was build for all of the people. Seward Park was the first public park was built in the city.

Ms. Nishimoto stated that it was not easy to immigrate into the USA.

She uses her Ellis Island experience to teach her classes about the early immigration into the United States as part of her American history classes.

The tour of Ellis Island is opened to the public. For tour information www.ellisisland.org

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