Archive for the ‘ Quarantine ’ Category

America’s Most Endangered Historic Places 2012

It’s been a while since I updated, but wanted to share some great news! Ellis Island’s south side hospitals were recently chosen by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the most endangered historic places in 2012. They asked me to go out and shoot the current state of the place, and I think I got some really telling photos. See the below links for more information (and more of my photos)!

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Explore America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Huffington Post (my photos run 15-22)
America’s Most Endangered Historic Places 2012 (PHOTOS)

Time Magazine
See ’em Before They Disappear: The 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in the U.S.

Untapped Cities
The Ellis Island South Side Hospitals: a healthcare marvel in decay

USA Today (see slideshow)
America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

The Weather Channel
America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

CBS News
2012’s Most Endangered Historic U.S. Places

Architectural Record
National Trust Announces America’s 11 Most Endangered Sites

International Business Times
America’s Most Endangered Historic Places in 2012

Business Insider
The 11 Most Endangered Historical Sites in America

Preservation Nation
Announcing America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2012

I’m hoping to¬† bring more good news about Ellis soon, and post a blog entry with even more photos than those seen here.

North Brother Island- ceramics

Sometimes artifacts are left in buildings, sometimes they’re found scattered on the grounds, and in the case of islands, rummaging through the sediment and buildup at low tide can reveal treasures. North Brother Island has unfortunately been heavily scrapped, and very little in the way of artifacts actually remains.

Which is why it was amazing to discover that the facility, known as Riverside Hospital, actually had branded dishware. Two broken pieces of a plate, stamped “Riverside” with laurel leaves and a DH, which I can only assume stands for Department of Health. The back of the plate was inscribed with a very faint “Greenwood China, Trenton NJ” which, after a bit of research, turned out to be from the pottery company Messrs. Stephens, Tanis & Co. established in 1861. The particular mark on the plate was first used in 1886. While it seems difficult to further narrow down the date this plate was created beyond the stamp, knowing Riverside Hospital was founded in the 1850s as a smallpox hospital makes me wonder if these plate remnants really are well over 100 years old, and existed before the General Slocum crash on the island’s shores.

Either way, a fascinating find, giving a little more insight into the daily life of the quarantine patients in the early years of the hospital.


A selection of various auditoriums, chapels and other general congregation spaces I’ve shot over the years. Most are contained within larger institutions; I’m not including free-standing theatres.

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Connector Corridors

A discarded wheelchair, one of the dozens moved into the sub-basement level tunnels sits under a broken piece of roof. I shot this as a thunderstorm rolled through, which was a wonderful experience. Someone clearly moved this wheelchair into the opportune lit area, rare in the maze of dark tunnels, but set up or not, I found the play of light wonderful.

Long Island Isolation – Boston, Massachusetts.


Photo of hand-painted lettering on a door in an old quarantine building, Staten Island, NY.

Laboratory & Pharmacy

I spent part of my weekend out in Boston, shooting Long Island Isolation, an old quarantine hospital. The island is crisscrossed with a fascinating maze of semi-elevated tunnels. I’m still working on editing photos, but here’s several light-painted shots from the otherwise pitch black old pharmacy and laboratory section of the campus.

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Asylum Life- Salons

Most asylums and state institutions (and sanatoriums) were fitted with beauty parlors for the patients, helping create a healing environment and giving the patients some freedom in their appearance, despite clothing very often being supplied by the hospital itself. Finding hairdryer and barber chairs in hospitals is fairly common, and I’ve always smiled at finding these varied relics. It’s a breath of fresh air to be reminded of the humanism in a lot of these locations, so often bogged down by the more sensational stories of abuse. Most asylums were self sufficient, with carpentry and sewing rooms, teaching basic skills alongside reducing the cost on maintaining these publically funded institutions, so it would make sense that they would also provide salons

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Maryland State Sanatorium

Located high in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western Maryland, the former Maryland State Sanatorium has in recent years become the Victor Cullen Youth Center, a juvenile detention facility that has been riddled with escapes and alleged abuse. The center repurposed the former tuberculosis hospital’s cottage plan to house juvenile offenders, though the Administration building remains empty. Filled with ample porches and windows overlooking the surrounding mountains, as this was thought to be curative for patients suffering from tuberculosis, even the roads up to the facility are impressively steep. The old stone buildings at the very peak of the range can be seen from the base in the surrounding town of Sabillasville.

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North Brother Island- Exteriors

One of the things I tend to focus on every time I go to North Brother Island in the East River is documenting the buildings throughout the seasons, as best I can. This has been evidenced in my previous posts on the island, though in this particular one I will be posting shots from the outside of all the structures on the island (except for the morgue, gantry and physical plant, as I’ve already made individual posts on these ). It really is amazing how over the last several decades, despite the Parks Department’s efforts, nature has slowly overtaken most of the remaining structures.

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South Mountain Sanatorium, historic photos

Several weeks ago I had the great opportunity to shoot the former children’s preventorium at South Mountain Sanatorium (formerly known as both the Mont Alto State Sanatorium, PA State Sanitorium No. 1, and the City of Hope) in Mont Alto, Pennsylvania. I’ll be composing a full blog post on the photos later (one is posted here) but in the meantime I figured I’d share some scans of historic photos of the campus. I’ve actually linked these images to larger versions, so please click on them to open a larger version.

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