11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Ellis Island National Monument

Year Listed: 1992, 1997
Location: New York
Threat: Deterioration, Neglect


Fifteen years after the museum's opening, more than 30 buildings on Ellis Island await restoration.

Credit: Larry Racioppo, Save Ellis Island

The beautifully restored Main Building of Ellis Island opened with great fanfare in 1990 and other buildings on the island's north side have been restored as part of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, thanks to a successful partnership between the National Park Service and the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation. However, the job of restoring the Ellis Island National Monument was not done. On the south side, behind chain-link fences, dozens of important historic buildings -- like hospitals and quarantine areas -- that help tell the entire story of Ellis Island are crumbling from decay and a lack of maintenance. Because many of Ellis Island's buildings have remained vacant for nearly half a century, the damage to the structures is monumental. Weather has taken a toll, and vegetation overrunning the buildings hastens their decline.