The term "Historic Trilogy" is used to represent the role the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) Terminal, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty played in American history. It was these three historic structures that greeted most of the immigrants arriving to the New York Harbor area during the wave of immigration of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Statue of Liberty, dedicated in 1886, was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. Its original intent was to symbolize a common belief in democracy. It quickly became a universal symbol of hope and freedom, especially to those immigrants fleeing political and religious persecution in Europe and the Soviet Union.
The Ellis Island Immigration Station opened in 1892 to process the 12 million immigrants pouring into the New York Harbor area. These people supplied the labor, and in some cases the expertise, which fueled the industrial revolution in this country. Today, over half of the people living in the U.S. can trace their ancestry back to those immigrants.
Completing the trilogy is the CRRNJ Terminal. Constructed in 1889, it was expanded to its current dimension in 1914, due to increased rail and ferry traffic. Besides transporting hundreds of thousands of commuters to New York City, the Terminal was used by about two thirds of the immigrants processed on Ellis Island, finding their way to a new life.
The CRRNJ Terminal, the cornerstone of Liberty State Park, provides us with a concrete connection to the past. Listed on both the State and National Register of Historic Places, its association with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island remind us of our distinctive past.