11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Ellis Island Hospital Complex

Year Listed: 1992, 2012
Location: New York Harbor, NY and NJ, New York
Threat: Lack of Funding

Partners: Save Ellis Island, National Park Service, New York Landmarks Conservancy


Ellis Island Hospital Complex
Photo by Clara Daly

Part of the Ellis Island National Monument, this mostly unused complex of buildings near the restored Immigration Museum once comprised the largest U.S. Public Health Service institution in the country. Today, few Americans realize that portions of Ellis Island are un-restored and off limits to visitors. The National Park Service stabilized the hospital structures here a decade ago, but millions of dollars still must be raised to rehabilitate the interiors of these historic buildings.

Ellis Island was once known as an “Island of Hope” for immigrants who launched new lives in America, but has also been called the “Island of Tears” by newcomers who were turned back to their homelands or separated from their families at the processing center. The historic hospitals, quarantine wards, and support buildings on the south side of the island retain their integrity and haunting beauty. Preservation experts and historians feel strongly that they must be protected and opened to the public.


Protect and preserve the often-overlooked hospital and support buildings on the southern side of Ellis Island – structures that accommodated millions of immigrants from 1892 to 1954, but have stood largely idle or shuttered for decades.

Campaign Goals

      • Raise awareness about the work left to be done on the south side of Ellis Island, including the potential for rehabilitation and reuse of the hospital buildings.
      • Secure adequate funding for the project and support redevelopment and public visitation.