Saturday, October 14, 2017, 1 p.m.
Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15, 2017, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, October 14 – FREE Walking tour of the USLHS General Depot Site and museum admission. Visitors will see the 7 remaining buildings onsite that date from 1864 to 1912. Highlights include the 1868 oil vaults and the main office building designed by US Treasury Department architect Alfred B. Mullett. Tours start at 1 p.m. from the Museum and run on the hour until 4 p.m.
Sunday, October 22, 2017, 3 p.m.
Near the site of the National Lighthouse Museum on the northern shore of Staten Island, the Quarantine was in service for six decades (1799-1856) in order to limit the spread of deadly infectious diseases accompanying the immigrants and commerce from Europe into New York Harbor. At the Quarantine, State Health Officers examined sea vessels and voyagers which were suspected of infection, and held a small portion of immigrants and merchandise on the Quarantine grounds. The small, isolated population of Staten Island residents welcomed the opportunity for employment to maintain and supply the facility. Quarantine workers were also responsible for the burial of patients who perished from disease. Recently, these burial sites of mostly Irish immigrants are marked in dignified tribute, and recognized for the historical significance.
In the 1850’s, coincident with larger outbreaks of disease within the Quarantine, there was imagined infectious clouds (miasmas) of disease billowing over the walls, and murdering nearby residents. This coincidence fixed in Staten Island residents minds that the government was imposing a death sentence without due process. Frustration with the State Legislature lead prominent Staten Islanders to lead a riot, and burn the Quarantine in 1856, but not solve the problem. As the Irish immigration from Europe swelled to become 25% of the total NYC population and commerce with the new country exploded, outbreaks did not go away. A remedy was sought in the ashes of Quarantine.
In this talk, Drs. Robert Marraccino and Michael Vigorito examine the events leading to the burning of the Quarantine, as well as, the aftermath. When plans to relocate the Quarantine had to be abandoned, a quarantine program was maintained by relying on less than ideal existing structures and resources throughout New York Bay including boats re-purposed as Hospital Ships. The lack of an effective quarantine program was eventually resolved by the construction of two man-made Islands located off of present day South Beach and a boarding station at Rosebank.