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Trip to Ellis Island: Hard Hat Tour of the Hospital Complex

Sunday, June 24, 2018 • 11 Tammuz 5778

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Join the Lifelong Learning Committee for a Hard Hat Tour of the abandoned hospital complex on Ellis Island, which has been closed and abandoned for 60 years. Most of these buildings have slowly fallen into disrepair. The tour is offered by Save Ellis Island, the organization formed to raise the necessary funds and oversee the rehabilitation, preservation and adaptive re-use of the unrestored buildings located primarily on the south side of Ellis Island.

Save Ellis Island’s mission is to preserve the historic hospital buildings on Ellis Island. Our goal is to encourage an understanding of immigration in a globalized world, a story that has always been a part of American history. Our vision is to engage the public in historic preservation by showcasing the rehabilitation and preservation of an American icon – Ellis Island.
Save Ellis Island, in partnership with the National Park Service, will rehabilitate and re-dedicate these buildings for public education and enjoyment – a place for civic discussion of issues that define our humanity, the constant movement of peoples around the globe and the impact of this travel on mutual respect, cultural tolerance and global health and well being.

The Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital is the United States’ first public health hospital. It opened in 1902 and 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.  

Of the 12 million immigrants who entered America through Ellis Island, 1.2 million failed the initial medical inspection performed by the Public Health Service doctors, and were taken along the covered corridors to the hospitals for further evaluation. 

Twelve million immigrants were processed through the Ellis Island Immigration Center during its years of operation. Every immigrant had to go through a thirty-second health inspection upon arrival, although the inspections were often directed more at the immigrants who arrived from second or third class. Tens of thousands of immigrants, or one out of every five, received a chalk mark on their clothing, signaling a health deficiency. These immigrants were often sent on to the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital to be detained until they recovered or were deemed too sick to enter the United States, in which case they would be sent back to their home countries.

The hospital complex consisted of 29 buildings spread over 2 islands in New York Harbor. The islands were man-made, using excavated dirt and concrete from the New York City subway system.

  • Price of the trip includes the cost of the tour and the ferry ride from Liberty Island Park to Ellis Island.
  • The cost of the bus from Temple Shaari Emeth is being paid for by the Lifelong Learning Committee.
  • Access to the main Ellis Island Museum is included as part of this trip.
  • Lunch is on your own - there is a cafe in the main building.
  • Minimum age for trip is 13

Final date to register is June 12, 2018.

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Sun, January 20 2019 14 Sh'vat 5779