Friday, June 22 , 2018, 6:55 am | Overcast 59º


‘Forgotten Ellis Island’ Documentary Screens Saturday at Ventura Film Festival

Immigration, health care were intertwined in New York Harbor a century ago

Immigration and health care have been intertwined throughout U.S. history. Forgotten Ellis Island, a documentary by Lorie Conway that screens as 12:50 p.m. Saturday at the Ventura Film Society Festival 2010, brings this point home with a compelling look at the medical wing of the nation’s most famous port of entry.

The Ellis Island immigrant hospital opened in 1902, a massive and modern complex that grew to 22 buildings. It was America’s first line of defense against contagious, often virulent disease. Tens of thousands of immigrant patients were separated from their families and detained in the hospital before the emergence of antibiotics. Many were healed and allowed to enter the country to become citizens. Some died there. Others were deported.

More than 350 babies were born on Ellis Island, many named after the doctors and nurses who helped deliver them, while 10 times that many died there — buried in paupers’ graves around New York City.

“To those who went through it, it was one of the most precious gifts you were given, because when you were sick you couldn’t do anything about it,” said John Henry Wilberding, a German immigrant who was hospitalized with the measles on Ellis Island in 1928. “But here was a place that rescued you.”

Forgotten Ellis Island screens at 12:50 p.m. Saturday at the former Ventura Elks Lodge, 11 S. Ash St. Click here for tickets and information, or call 805.641.3845.

— Mark Dispenza is an associate at Holmes & Holmes Insurance Agency, 299 N. Fairview Ave., Suite 200.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >