ELLIS ISLAND, NY/NJ - We are currently renovating the 2nd Floor Offices in the Laundry / Hospital Outbuilding for Save Ellis Island.
The Hospital Outbuilding, as it was originally known, was built between September 1900 and December 1901 as a support building for the first hospital building constructed at the same time. As other buildings in the Island 2 Hospital Complex were added between 1901 and 1909, the Laundry/Hospital Outbuilding’s role became even more essential. The primary functions on the ground floor of the Hospital Outbuilding were a laundry room, an autopsy room and morgue, a disinfecting room, and a boiler room to provide heat for the Hospital wing and the Hospital Outbuilding. The second floor was designed as sleeping quarters for the hospital staff with four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
James Knox Taylor, Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury Department (1890-1912), designed the Hospital Outbuilding in 1899. The original Hospital Outbuilding is a one and one half story brick bearing wall structure, with a wood framed and clay tile roof with ten dormers. Interior construction consisted of terra cotta block walls with plaster finish on the first floor and wood framing, metal lath and plaster finish on the second floor. Circa 1920, a small freestanding linen exchange was demolished and replaced with a one-story brick addition to the west of the original building. Originally known as the Linen Exchange but now called the Laundry Building, it provides an interior connection between the Hospital Outbuilding and the covered corridor to the west. The equipment used for the laundry, such as the laundry press or “mangle,” dryers and washers, still remain intact and will be used for interpretive programming.
The Laundry/Hospital Outbuilding is architecturally significant. Constructed of red brick with projecting quoins and limestone trim, the Hospital Outbuilding was designed to echo elements of the main hospital building on Island 2 and the main immigration building on Island 1. It is also significant as part of the first major integrated hospital of the twentieth century and for its role in the early years of the U.S. Public Health Service. Its greater significance, however, is due to its place in the history of Ellis Island. Between 1892 and 1954, Ellis Island served as the gateway to America for twelve million new immigrants - over 1.2 million of which were treated in the Ellis Island hospital complex. Today, over forty percent of all Americans and half of all New Jersey residents can trace at least one ancestor to Ellis Island, and it is one of the country’s most popular destinations, with nearly two million visitors each year
For more information on the rehabilitation of the Laundry Hospital Outbuilding or the Ellis Island Hospital Complex visit www.saveellisisland.org