From architecture to food, many things we would define as iconically “American” were created by immigrants.
- The patriotic American song “God Bless America” was written by Irving Berlin, a Jewish immigrant from Belarus.
- The White House was designed by architect James Hoban, who immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1785.
- American football originated from the English game of rugby, brought to the United States by British immigrants in the 19th Century.
- The first enclosed “modern” shopping mall in the United States was designed by Australian immigrant Victor David Gruen, who settled in the U.S in 1938. The shopping mall Southdale Center is located in Edina, Minnesota.
- The famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York City was designed by German immigrant John Augustus Roebling.
- Santa Claus, whom many American kids wait on a visit from on Christmas Eve, was inspired by the Dutch legend of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) and brought to American colonies by Dutch immigrants in the 17th century. Before known as an elf, the now known image was created by Swedish artist Haddon Hubbard “Sunny” Sundblom for Coca-Cola advertising.
- Isn’t Google just so convenient for most Americans? Thank Russian immigrant Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin, co-founder of Google alongside Larry Page.
- Like some comfortable jeans? Thank Jacob W. Davis (born Jacob Youphes), who immigrated to the United States in 1854 from Riga City. Reinforcing the potential value in his jeans concept, in 1872 he partnered with Levi Strauss to design the distinguished jeans.
- The famously known American hot dog was once not so known in the states. The German product, known as frankfurters, was brought to New York City by German immigrant Charles Feltman, who opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand in 1871.
- Superman is an immigrant. Yes, the American superhero and cultural icon is an immigrant. Born in Krypton, he came to the United States when his planet faced imminent destruction. Landing in a small Kansas town, he grew up being raised as an American—knowing nothing of where he came from. Struggling with his identity as an immigrant and afraid of telling American people where he is from, the man of steel looks beyond his fear, and with the “S” on his chest representing hope, this inspiring, fearless immigrant teaches America to fight for justice.
Superman co-creator Joseph Shuster was an immigrant from Canada.