07-Ellis Island 21A room in which autopsies were conducted on bodies in front of a group of doctors. 

Ellis Island, the gateway to the United States for millions of immigrants from 1892 to 1954, has become one of New York City’s top tourist attractions, drawing over two million visitors per year. Hiding in plain sight, just to the left of disembarking passengers headed towards the Great Hall, is the 22-building South Side hospital complex, once the standard for United States medical care, and one of the largest public health undertakings in American history. A volunteer group, Save Ellis Island, has been raising public awareness about the remarkable operation that took place in its walls, which have been left to decay since the hospital complex nearly 60 years ago.

Of the more than 12 million immigrants who traveled through Ellis island before it shut its doors in 1954, an incredible 10% (or 1.2 million) were given further examinations for concerns related to their physical or mental health. Here are some beautiful photos by Clara Daly, previously of Ward9, that she shared with us from our previous piece with the Partners in Preservation campaign.

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03-Ellis Island 26These coal ovens would’ve supplied power to much of, if not all of, the island.

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The desolate skeletal frame is visible in these pictures. Chipped paint and rusted metal fills the hospital. The story of the hospital was covered in depth in a 2008 documentary entitled Forgotten Ellis Island by the film maker Lorie Conway. Research was done over 9 years with Conway contacting family members of the past patients, digging through government archives, and spending substantial amount of time on-site.

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Next, check out artist JR’s installation inside the abandoned Ellis Island hospitals and discover the Top 10 Secrets of Ellis Island.