The United States Immigration Station at Ellis Island, established in 1892, was the most prominent federal immigration facility. After a fire destroyed the original wood buildings in 1897, Ellis Island was expanded and improved by a series of landfill projects and monumental new buildings still there today. The Immigration Act of 1891, in addition to federalizing immigration control and creating Ellis Island and the other U.S. Immigration Stations, included a provision for medical examination of arriving aliens. The U.S. Public Health Service conducted medical inspections of immigrants and operated two major hospital complexes on Ellis Island - one main hospital for general medical care and another designated for contagious diseases. Immigrants and other U.S. Public Health Service patients received the highest standard of medical care on Ellis Island from 1901 until the hospitals closed in 1951.
Today visitors to Ellis Island Immigration Museum enjoy the grand spaces of the restored Main Immigration Building, but access to a large portion of the island housing the two unrestored hospital complexes is much more limited. Since 2009, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) has been working on a multi-phase project documenting the Ellis Island hospitals and associated buildings with measured drawings, historical reports, and large format photographs. HABS, administered by Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP) of the National Park Service, is the Federal Government's oldest preservation program. The 2014 phase included HDR panoramic photos to create a virtual tour of Ellis Island's restricted areas. The virtual tour was developed by HDP architect Paul Davidson, with assistance from Lisa Pfueller Davidson, HDP historian, and HDP architect Daniel De Sousa.
For more information please visit the Ellis Island website.
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