Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Other Side: A behind the scenes tour of the South Side of Ellis Island

Welcome to the Other Side:
I take you on a behind the scenes tour of the South Side of Ellis Island. An area of hospitals and support buildings for the island that haven't been touched or open to the public for over 50 years.
 Above: View of Manhattan from Ellis Island
For many, Ellis Island was the first stop after their long journey to a better life. The American Dream started for many immigrants who stepped foot on this island. 

After a long, adruous overseas journey in typically very bad conditions, you were processed on Ellis Island for entry into the US. Over 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island from 1892 until the 1930's. Since 1990, the north side of the Island has been an operating immigration museum, however the story of the South Side of the island is forgotten by many and has primarily been untold. The south side was where immigrants who were sick (both mentally and physically) were sent for treatment. After treatment, If you were deemed fit for American Life, you were sent to the mainland to begin your own American Dream. If not, you were sent back to your country. When the hospital campus opened in 1902 it was deemed as the most extensive and modern hospital in the world. It was also the first major public health system in the Nation. In the 30's the hospital and Ellis Island saw a steep decline in immigrants due to tightening restrictions on immigration. Eventually the FBI took up offices here and then during WWII American Servicemen were treated here in addition to housing for German Prisoners of War. The last occupants were the Coast Guard who left the island abandoned in 1954. 

The following pictures were taken on an authorized hard hat trip by Save Ellis Island. For my fellow UrbExer's, I do not recommend unauthorized entry at this site.

Above and Below: Laundry

 Above and Below: Doctors Classroom
 Modern surgery techniques and treatments were taught to doctors from all around the world in this classroom which was considered a very state of the art facility and learning center.

 Above: Ellis Island South, looking at Miss Liberty

I hope you enjoyed this visit and tour of Ellis Island South. Stay tuned for behind the scenes at the Brooklyn Naval Yard coming up next.