The Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, also known as USPHS Hospital #43, was the United States’ first public health hospital, opened in 1902 and operating as a hospital until 1930. Constructed in phases, the facility encompassed both a general hospital and a separate pavilion style contagious disease hospital. The hospital served as a detention facility for new immigrants who were deemed unfit to enter the United States after their arrival; immigrants would either be released from the hospital to go on to a new life in America or sent back to their home countries. The hospital was one of the largest public health hospitals in United States history and is still viewed today as an extraordinary endeavor in the public health field. While the monument is managed by the National Park Service as part of the National Parks of New York Harbor office, the south side of Ellis Island has been off-limits to the general public since its closing. Efforts to restore the hospital buildings and others on the island are being made by government partner Save Ellis Island. In October 2014, the hospital opened to the public for small-group hard hat tours.
The grainy black and white immigrant images found throughout the hospital is part of a new installation, “Unframed — Ellis Island,” by the French artist JR.
Photographed November 2017.