Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

New Jersey Historic Trust Affiliated with the Department of Community Affairs

Ellis Island

Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund
Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Fund
Capital Preservation Grant, Level II
Capital Preservation Grant Level II: Multi-Phase
Historic Site Management Grant
Grant Award: $731,368 (2004); $50,000 (2005); $50,000 (2007); $50,000 (2008); $150,212 (2008); $50,000 (2009); $560,422 (2020)
Grant Recipient: Save Ellis Island, Inc.
County: Hudson
Municipality: Jersey City

The Ellis Island Immigration Station opened in January 1892. It served as the primary immigration center for the United States until 1954 when it was closed. The island was originally 3.3 acres and landfill was used to increase its size to a total of 27.5 acres. In total, more than 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island. 

Ellis Island Hospital Complex: The New Jersey half of Ellis Island contained medical facilities to treat ill immigrants. Designed by James Knox Taylor, architect for the U.S. Treasury Department, the original hospital buildings were built in 1901. Those who arrived in need of care were detained for medical attention. The state-of-the-art hospital complex treated and cured most sick immigrants in order for them to be permitted entry into the country. Facilities were also built to house and feed immigrants while they waited for their identification papers to be processed. Subsequent buildings reflected the changing medical practices of the early 20th century. 

The 2020 Trust grant will help fund two phases of capital work at Ellis Island’s Contagious Disease Hospital, located on what is known as the South Island. Both phases will accomplish major structural work in the five areas of concern including two passageways, the Administration Building, the Staff House, and the kitchen.The 2005 Trust grant helped fund the development of an interpretive plan for the complex of hospital buildings. 

The Laundry Building: The laundry building was one of the first hospital buildings erected and was used as a service building for the complex. Its uses changed throughout its life and have included laundry, morgue, and nurse's residence. 

A 2008 Trust grant helped fund the rehabilitation of the interior of the second floor of the laundry building with an elevator and code-compliant stairs, making it accessible to the public and creating space for Save Ellis Island’s education programs. The 2004 Trust grant funded the exterior and interior restoration of the laundry building. 

Ward G and Power Plant: Ellis Island’s south side housed its hospital complex and contagious disease wards. At the core of the hospital complex were the wards where immigrants were held and treated until well enough to continue to the New York City harbor. 

A 2007 Trust grant helped fund an assessment and the development of interpretation for Hospital Ward G and the Power Plant, both slated for restoration and interpretation. 

The Recreation Building: The recreation building sits at the center of the Ellis Island hospital complex. Built in 1936, it replaced the American Red Cross Building on the island. It is in a classical Art Deco style with a red brick and terracotta exterior and a large, vaulted theatre with a stage area on the interior. The building is in poor condition with years of moisture penetration. 

A 2009 grant helped fund structural engineering and preservation studies that will guide future stabilization, repair and restoration. A 2008 Trust grant helped fund the preparation of a conditions assessment with the goal of enabling public visitation and interpretation of the center green and pavilion of the hospital complex. The building will serve as a public lecture and education hall for programs on the island. 

For more information, visit: 

to top