||The new building on Ellis Island, which is being
used to-day for the first time, is a marked contrast to the Barge
Office, with its dirty, dimly lighted, cramped, pen like quarters.
In place of worn floors and board partitions, grimy and greasy from
contact with the soiled hands and clothing of thousands of
immigrants, there are concrete floors and white hard surfaced
plaster walls. Instead of narrow, gloomy passages there are
spacious, well lighted rooms.
photo: group of immigrants at the
ORNAMENTAL AS WELL AS USEFUL.
The architects, Boring & Tilton, have tried in the new building to
fulfill every practical demand in such a building, and give it besides,
architectural dignity. They have erected a structure that is not likely
to meet the fate of the great "tinderbox" that did duty on its site as
an immigrant station until it was destroyed by fire three and one-half
THE EXAMINATION ROOM IN THE IMMIGRANT STATION ON ELLIS ISLAND.
The building suggests an exposition hall from the
water. It is of red brick, the design being picked out with Indiana
limestone and Maine granite. In some respects the interior resembles
that of the old structure which it replaces. The main divisions are
similar. As in the first building, the examinations are conducted on the
second floor, and the baggage is handled on the first floor. The big
examination room is two stories high. It is the largest room in the
building. On a level with the third floor a railed visitors' gallery
runs around it. It is fringed with the offices of the immigration
officials, rooms for the meetings of the Board of Special Inquiry, for
records, for the Contract Labor Bureau and for more minute medical and
contract labor examinations. The chief rooms on the third floor are
dormitories for detained immigrants.
GOOD SANITARY CONDITIONS.
Extreme care has been taken to have the sanitary
conditions as close to perfection as possible. The floors are of
asphalt, with raised edges around the walls, so that they can be
thoroughly cleansed with water. The walls for seven feet above the
floors are of Keene cement. Above this they are of white, hard surfaced
plaster. There are no corners where a hose may not be turned. The white
walls and the dark green trimmings are refreshing in their suggestions
Everything has been so arranged that the immigrant
passes through the station very much after the fashion of a roll of
paper through a web press. Upon landing at the pier he enters a passage
which leads to the entrance of the examination building. Once inside,
the passage leads up a flight of broad stairs, which turn before
reaching the second floor, and discharges its contents onto the broad,
open floor of the great vaulted examination room. Here the preliminary
medical inspection is made. The immigrants into whose physical condition
there should be further examination are here weeded out and turned into
a room near by. The others go forward through numerous narrow aisles.
These are the parting of the ways. As the immigrants leave them, they
are separated according to their destinations.
THREE PASSAGES FOR EXIT.
A stairway opens before the immigrants as they leave
the aisles. It is divided into three passages by wire screens. Those for
New York now have free access to the covered passage to the New York
ferry slip. Those who are to go away by rail are taken back through the
building past the ticket offices and the big baggage room on the ground
floor, where the baggage has been assorted into two divisions, that
destined for New York in one, and that going out on the railroads the
The baggage for the railroads is properly checked,
and the immigrants are then taken to a steamboat landing adjoining the
one where they landed and are transported to the railroad stations.
Those who are detained are ushered into a large room
to remain until further disposition is made of them according to the
merits of their cases.
The change from the old station to the new one will
be a welcome one to the immigration officials, as it will make their
work easier and pleasanter, and give them more cheerful quarters.
The hospital, the power house and the physician's
house will not be ready for occupancy before February.