Portal:Featured Article Of The Week

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Featured Article Of The Week

Ellis Island Isolation Hospital


In the nineteenth century, the United States had suffered three devastating cholera outbreaks, with each originating abroad. As Ellis Island being the port of entry, it's two story wooden dispensary was not equipped to handle such threats. For the next decade the issue of how to protect the health of the nation and the immigrants loomed over Ellis. The problem would only intensify when the wooden infirmary caught fire and burned to the ground in 1897.

President Theodore Roosevelt proposed a change in immigration policy and recognized that Ellis Island needed a more thorough way to process it's health screening. There was no extra vacant land to build a hospital, but tons of rocks being excavated to build the New York subway system provided enough to landfill two islands. Designated simply as Island No. 2 and Island No. 3, they were home to the general and infectious diseases hospitals.

Connected by a gangplank, Island No. 2 was separated by 200 feet of water from the original island and home to the new General Hospital. It opened in 1902, with 120 beds making it larger then most of the city hospitals at the time, and would eventually expand to 275 beds. The hospital included four operating rooms, a delivery room, and a morgue. A psychopathic pavilion was built after two mentally ill patients committed suicide in the general hospital. The pavilion was incorporated to house "idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, insane persons, and epileptics." Click here for more...