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Ellis Island, Contagious Disease Hospital Isolation Ward I, New York Harbor, New York County, NY


Ellis Island, Contagious Disease Hospital Isolation Ward I, New York Harbor, New York County, NY



Significance: Isolation Ward I, later known as Wards 27 and 28, was one of three freestanding Isolation Ward pavilions built as part of the Contagious Disease Hospital complex on Island 3 of the Ellis Island U.S. Immigration Station in 1908. Distinct from the Contagious Disease Hospital's eight semi-detached Measles Ward pavilions, the three Isolation Ward pavilions were designed to provide hospital facilities for immigrants suffering from more serious contagious diseases and their combinations such as scarlet fever, diphtheria (a throat infection that could lead to paralysis), measles with scarlet fever, measles with diphtheria, measles with whooping cough, and scarlet fever with diphtheria. The two-story Measles Ward pavilions were attached to Island 3's two-story main corridor, but the Isolation Ward pavilions required a greater degree of separation. Therefore they were located on the far southeast end of Island 3 with each pavilion containing two open wards on the ground floor. In 1914, however, Isolation Wards I and K had their exterior walkways raised, covered, enclosed, and connected to the hospital's main corridor to provide greater comfort and ease of circulation among the hospital's buildings during inclement weather.

Opened on June 20, 1911, the Contagious Disease Hospital, including Isolation Ward I, greatly expanded the hospital facilities at Ellis Island run by the U.S. Public Health and Marine Hospital Service (after 1912, U.S. Public Health Service, or USPHS) in conjunction with the Bureau of Immigration. Prior to the opening of these facilities, immigrants with communicable diseases had to be transported to and treated at medical facilities throughout New York City, which was a health hazard to both the public and the infirm patients in transit. Designed by James Knox Taylor, the Supervising Architect of the Treasury, Isolation Ward I contained two independent first floor ward units. Each ward unit contained its own discharging rooms, bathrooms, linen closets, and a kitchen on the first floor, and bedrooms, a bathroom, and a sitting/dining room on the second floor for USPHS nurses. Isolation Ward I's exterior was executed in the same Georgian Revival mode as the rest of the Island 3 hospital: red tile roof, pebble dash stucco wall treatment, and red brick quoins and details. This decorative treatment complemented the Georgian Revival monumentality of the Island 2 Main Hospital while the detailing and lower scale made it visually distinct.

During their forty-three years of occupation, the Isolation Wards proved to be flexible spaces responding to the various needs of patients and staff. Isolation Ward I remained relatively less altered than the other two isolation pavilions that had their open wards compartmentalized into smaller, more private rooms. However, it too had walls removed, tile added, and other modifications that affected its appearance and use over the years. The USPHS vacated the hospital facilities on March 1, 1951 and the U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit at Ellis Island expanded to use portions of the Island 3 hospital for file storage. The Ellis Island U.S. Immigration Station ceased operation on November 12, 1954 and the complex has remained unoccupied even after it was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, under the administration of the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N2253, N2254, N2255
Survey number: HABS NY-6086-Y
Building/structure dates: 1908-1909 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1914 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: after. 1930- before. 1939 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: after. 1930- before. 1939 Subsequent Work
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 66000058



1909 - 1980


new york


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