The New Labor Exchange at Castle Garden - 1868
The Labor Exchange -- Interior View of the Office at Castle Garden, New York. Sketed by Stanley Fox. Harper's Weekly, 15 August 1868. GGA Image ID # 14805c4868
The rapidly increasing business in the Labor Exchange at Castle Garden has induced the Commissioners of Emigration to erect a new and commodious frame building, to be used as a labor depot.
The present office has been built only about twelve mouths ; but as in that short period the business of the bureau has increased threefold, much additional accommodation becomes necessary. To meet the want, a new building has been erected, near the old office, on the land-side of the rotunda.
It is 80 feet long, 50 feet wide, and the sides 12 feet high to the roof, which slopes upwards. In the middle of the roof, and running nearly its whole length, an open skylight and ventilator rises to the height of 8 feet. The roof is entirely covered with tin, which is painted brown—the same color as the outside of the building.
There axe six windows and a door at each end of the building. Five oaken pillars support each side of the raised skylight and divide the room into three nearly equal parts.
The interior is not yet fitted up, but it is intended to have seats at the sides for the accommodation of emigrants, while the middle of the floor will be appropriated to the officers' desks, and to convenience of employers.
The apartment has a lightsome, cheerful aspect, and when finished, will present a comfortable appearance. Painters are now at work on the roof, pillars, windows, etc., and the carpenters are about to put in the seats, desks, and railings.
The contractors are Messrs. W. H. Gedney & Co., builders, 143 West 40th street, and the painting is in the hands of Mr. Hall, 8 James slip. The building will cost about $6,000, and will be ready for opening about the first of October. Architects, Ritch & Griffith.
The amount of good done by the Labor Exchange is incalculable, and only those can fully appreciate it who land— strangers in a strange land—without money and without friends.
The Exchange is constantly engaged in procuring employment for those who want it. The names, occupations, and other particulars regarding them, are taken down as soon as they land, and according as applications for help are received, they are sent out to supply the demand.
Those sent out remain under the ægis of the institution for five years; and if they are wronged or ill-treated by their employers, they can obtain redress by applying at the bureau.
Useless complaints are not listened to, and as great care is exercised in ascertaining the character of employers seeking assistance, and as none but proper parties need apply, complaints like angels' visits are few and far between.
Emigrants going out of the city, are furnished with railroad and steamboat tickets at the lowest rates. Duly authorized officers protect them from sharpers and runners, not allowing them out of sight until they leave for their destinations.
Persons requiring help of any kind, cannot do better than to call at the Labor Exchange. Applications for laborers, servants, etc., are constantly received, not only from this city, but from all cities and States in the Union.
While we were there lately, fifty laborers were engaged at $15 a month to go to the interior of the State ; many girls were also engaged as domestics in respectable families.
The Commissioners expect that when the department is reorganized and located in its new building, that it will be more efficient, and extend more widely its sphere of usefulness. Mr. O'Callahan, an Irishman, has charge of Irish immigrants ; and Mr. Kock. a German, has the charge of his own countrymen. Bernard Casserley, Esq., is the general agent and superintendent.
John W. Kennion, "The New Labor Exchange, Castle Garden," in The Architects' and Builders' Guide: An Elaborate Description of All the Public, Commercial, Philanthropic, Literary, & Ecclesiastical Buildings Already Constructed, and About to be Erected Next Spring in New York and Its Enviorns, With Their Cost Respectively, and the Names of the Architects and Builders, New York: Fitzpatrick & Hunter, 1868, pp. 55-57