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Ellis Island’s ‘Wall of Honor’ Damaged By Gashes, Graffiti And Bird Droppings

March 30, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ Deep gashes a 0 ed through the gateway to the United States.

The 951-foot copper wall, engraved with the names of 200,000 immigrants, will probably be repaired and cleaned this summer, the National Park Service, which maintains and administers the island, said Saturday.

It had not yet been determined if the engraved panels, which are on top of a waist-high wall that runs along the edge of the island, would be closed to the public or actually removed for repairs, said spokesman Manny Strumpf.

Careless tourists and sea gulls are as much responsible for the damage to the wall as vandals, Strumpf said.

″We are not denying the fact that there is vandalism,″ he said. ″But the wall is so designed that it catches and retains every piece of bird dropping and, being right by the water, the bira 3 bre having a field day.

″With people leaning over to look at the wall and into the water, belt buckles, purses, wrist watches, medical alert bracelets and cameras scratch it even further,″ he added.

The most glaring damage to the wall is the name ″Steve Vernon″ scribbled defiantly in thick marker pen underneath an inscription in memory of ″The Diego and Maria Visceglia Family.″

A black slash runs across the name of the Romanian mother of Arthur Segall. ″It’s terrible to see my mother’s name mutilated this way,″ Segall said.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, which spearheaded the $156 million restoration of the island, allowed anyone who wanted to have a name inscribed on the wall to do so for a $100 minimum donation.

Strumpf said the foundation has been testing a new and stronger sealer on three panels of the wall. If it proves effective in protecting the copper surface, all several hundred panels will be coated with it, he said.

About 650,000 people have visited Ellis Island since it opened in September, he said.

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