This week, I got to take a trip to Ellis Island for work and we were given a bit of a “behind the scenes” tour. We got to walk through the buildings that are still in ruins, the ones not part of the normal tour. It was absolutely fascinating, not only the things that happened in those buildings a hundred years ago, but how the buildings have weathered since then.
For those of you unfamiliar with American History, Ellis Island is a small island off the coast of New Jersey and New York where immigrants to the United States first landed. It opened in the 1890’s and closed in 1954. Twelve million immigrants were processed through Ellis Island.
Ellis Island was essentially abandoned in the 1950’s, and then in the 1980’s, restoration began. But that means that the buildings were virtually untouched for all those years. An abandoned building anywhere else would have become damaged by the human element, but these were damaged only by nature. It’s amazing how much still remains. I was amazed to see so many intact lightbulbs, for example. Of course, there isn’t power to the buildings, so who knows if those bulbs still work, but anywhere else, they would have been shattered long ago.