Inside Ellis Island’s Abandoned Detention CenterEllis Island, dubbed the “Island of Hope,” admitted millions of immigrants to their new lives in a growing and prosperous nation. But there lies a darker side to the primary immigration station from 1892-1924, and no building tells the story better than the Baggage and Dormitory Building.
Built in 1908 specifically as a detention center, it was here many immigrants were detained for reasons such as unsavory political affiliations, or inclusions in the wrong ethnic and religious group. During World War II the building served its darkest purpose - as an internment camp. Hundreds of Americans of Japanese, German, and Italian descent were rounded up each month and detained on the island, where many remained for years.