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Ellis Island Communicable Disease Hospital

First opened in 1902 with 120 beds, Ellis Island's Hospital was intended to protect the American populace from the myriad of diseases plaguing its patients. Its capacity was expanded by 275, then another 450 to keep up with the overwhelming sea of intakes. It was the most advanced hospital of its time, with an 8 cadaver refrigerator, 4 laboratories, an autoclave so large it could sterilize entire mattresses, and an autopsy theater where visiting physicians and students could study the pathology of exotic diseases. Eventually it was closed after immigration policy changed following World War I; it was last used as a hospital in 1930. If you would like to see more about the restoration effort or contribute to it, visit Save Ellis Island here.

Photographs and text by Matthew Christopher. For more images click the thumbnails below.