Revisiting Landmarks: Ellis Island Part II

During last week's visit to Ellis Island, my friends and I, intrigued, decided to take a guided tour of the Ferry Building. It ended up being a fabulous decision, since it offered us a chance to see some of the less-restored parts of the island. For me, it was especially wonderful, as it opened up a window to the memories of my first, mind-blowing childhood visit to the landmark about 30 years ago (which I discussed in Part I).

Led by a volunteer from Save Ellis Island, the tour took us into the partially-restored Ferry Building, built in the 1930s as part of Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (WPA). The building will hopefully open to the public soon, and features an exhibition about Ellis Island's hospitals--which have a fascinating history.

A shot of some of the hospital buildings on south side of the island. (Interestingly, one of my family members could have made a stop in these buildings back in the day...he was diagnosed with tuberculosis before being sent back to Italy.) I'd love to check them out, but it seems like they're a long way from being restored. Our guide, though, shared some interesting tidbits: When built, they utilized the most cutting-edge technology available in healthcare. Patients received better care on Ellis Island than just about anywhere else, and its workers were dedicated not only to keeping infectious disease out of America, but also curing it if they could. 

The 1930s era eagles on the Ferry Building, the design of which, sadly wasn't all that welcoming to the immigrants escaping Fascist rule in Europe.

After learning about healthcare on the island, we were treated to a peek inside some of the partially-restored--and still overgrown--sections behind the building. Absolutely wonderful--I want to go back for more!

If you'd like to make a donation to preserve Ellis Island, visit www.saveellisisland.org.

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