Luggage wagon at Grant County Museum in Elbow Lake, Mn
I was fortunate to have had the chance to visit Ellis Island while at an ESL (English for speakers of other languages) convention in New York City many years ago. It was such a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city when we entered the facility and looked through the empty rooms where those long ago immigrants entered into this country with such high expectations and probably a good deal of fear of the unknown. Imagine the crowded benches and overflow of bags, trunks, suitcases in which everything they owned was stored. No doubt many lost track of the few possessions they were able to bring and ended up without the any precious belongings. Some displays that have remained in my memory were large railroad wagons piled high with satchels and other suitcases that were collected to replicate the scene in those early days. At the Grant County Historical Museum in Elbow Lake, Minnesota, there is a similar display with similar items which always makes me wonder what those early travelers brought to America initially, or what did the pioneers bring when they ventured farther west. No doubt, they traveled with bare necessities.