Exactly 100 years ago today, my 18 year old grandfather, Kurt William Leucht, wrote the following entry into his journal:
I got up at 5:00am. At 7:00, we had to go to the luggage hall where the suitcases were managed. From there, we were quickly transported to Ellis Island [via ferry] where we were examined. We came into a large hall where everyone was shown to a specific location.
Since I had given the address of my uncle, I was directed to go to an area for Peoria, Illinois [Peoria is 170 miles SW of Chicago]. Then I came to the luggage room, where I had to find my things. I got my ticket to Peoria, which cost $18, and that was that. We had to wait until 3:00pm to get on a ship which left at 5:00 for the train station. [This was likely a ferry from Ellis Island to the mainland.] Everyone was decorated with a large piece of paper. We didn’t have to ask, every employee knew where we belonged.
We stayed in the train station until 7:00, then we were led to the ready trains. Shortly before 7:30, the train began to move. There were twelve Germans in my section of the train and we made ourselves comfortable. There was no difference between First and Fourth Class. Every section of the train was the same and was furnished something like our Second Class. Now the train was moving thru New York City, beyond and to the West [towards the city of Chicago]. Night came and we laid down to sleep as good as possible.
You can read my grandfather’s entire journal and see photos of Ellis Island from the early 1900’s by clicking below. It’s quite interesting! Of course, I’m biased! 🙂
Thanks for your interest!