Washington Avenue Immigration Station

Washington Avenue Immigration Station

The Washington Avenue Immigration Station was an immigrant processing facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. It was located at the end of Washington Avenue on the shore of the Delaware River, at the southern end of the modern-day Penn's Landing waterfront district. The facility was operational between 1873 and 1915 and processed up to 5% of all immigrants who entered the United States during that time period.

Similar to the larger and more prominent Ellis Island Immigration Station in New Jersey and New York Harbor, new immigrants arriving at the Port of Philadelphia were checked for specific diseases and details about their origins were recorded before they were permitted entry into the United States. At the time of its construction, several shipping companies had begun to offer direct passenger services to Philadelphia from various ports in Western Europe. These included the U.S.-based American Line, the Belgian Red Star Line, and the German Hamburg-America Line. The construction of the Washington Avenue Immigration Station was encouraged by managers of the Pennsylvania Railroad, seeking to increase their dominance in the U.S. passenger and freight railway market. The lower level of the immigration station contained ticket booths where recently arrived immigrants could purchase tickets to Pennsylvania Railroad destinations.

The facility was closed during the First World War, which had caused a significant decrease in the rate of immigration. Subsequent changes to federal immigration laws after the war led to continued decrease in new arrivals at Philadelphia, and the structure was eventually demolished. A Pennsylvania state historical marker currently denotes the site of the former immigration station.

See also


  • ExplorePAHistory.com: Washington Avenue Immigration Station