Angel Island Immigration Station


The Immigration Station on Angel Island was constructed primarily to process and detain Chinese and other Asian immigrants who came to America through San Francisco Bay. From 1910 to 1940, hundreds of thousands of immigrants passed through this facility en route to residency in the United States. While they waited to be cleared, most of them had to endure overcrowding, interrogations, and humiliating medical examinations. Those who were not admitted upon approval of their applications were usually deported.

Today, a few buildings still remain from the Angel Island Immigration Station, most in disrepair. They include a power plant, a mule barn, a hospital, a pump house, and the barracks used for accommodating the detainees now a museum. Visitors are permitted to explore the grounds on their own, although the barracks are the only building accessible, requiring participation in a guided tour. Restrooms and a drinking fountain are provided, but there are no picnic areas or food service.

The barracks museum features information panels, historic photographs, display cases of artifacts, and a re-creation of the living quarters and an interrogation hearing. Seen on the wooden walls of the barracks are hundreds of poems carved by the immigrants. Tours are conducted by the non-profit Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation for $2 per person. The foundation's address is 50 Francisco Street, Suite 110, San Francisco, California 94133. Tours leave from the harbor at Pier 41.

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