« PreviousContinue »
that the interdepartmental relations in these temporary occupancies were of the most agreeable character, and there was no ground for complaint by any of the parties concerned, a spirit of helpful cooperation being manifested throughout.
The Department of Justice was also granted limited detention quarters at Ellis Island from September 1, 1918, as a means of facilitating the holding of alien enemy suspects pending examination and internment or other disposition. This occupancy continued throughout the remainder of the fiscal year and is reported to have been beneficial to the enforcement of the laws against alien enemy activities during the period of the war.
Progress is rapidly being made toward completion of the granitefaced sea wall around Ellis Island. The south side of the contagious disease hospital island has been substantially completed, and work is proceeding along the east face of that island and across the slip between the hospitals. The unique character of this construction work is mentioned and described elsewhere in this report. (See p. 31.)
During the year a contract was concluded for the construction of that portion of the sea wall which will inclose the north side of the main island, and the dredging incident to this project has been completed. An additional appropriation of $175,000 has been made to continue this section of the work, but the original limit of cost, which was fixed at $749,100, will undoubtedly have to be increased, as the rising cost of labor and material will necessitate changes in the original calculations. There are many other improvements that should be made at Ellis Island, particularly in the matter of replacing worn-out machinery and piping. The station was erected 20 years ago and practically ever since has had hard service. If the current annual appropriations were sufficiently large to care for replacements as breakdowns occur, the equipment could be maintained in more satisfactory condition; but the shortage of current funds has made it imperative to give immediate attention to mechanical repairs and defer larger improvements until special appropriations therefor are secured. In the preparation of estimates for appropriations it is intended to include these necessary items, and it is hoped that the needs of the station may receive full recognition when the time comes for action on those estimates.
It should be stated that war conditions and the system of priority orders necessarily adopted by the War Industries Board caused some delay in the installation of two new turbo-generators for which financial provision was made over a year ago. It has been possible, however, to have the machinery manufactured and delivered, which gives rise to the expectation that it will be installed and placed in service during the next three months. This will relieve the heavy strain upon the old engines and generators, which were likely to break down during the seasons when the demand for light and power is the heaviest.
During the year covered by this report a new steam boiler was installed in the detention house at the Philadelphia immigration station, the original boiler plant having been found insufficient, especially as no relief boiler had been provided to be used during periods when cleaning and repairing had to be done. The plumbing and sanitary equipment of the main dormitories in the detention house were surveyed and are reported to be in bad condition. The cost of repairs and replacements will probably be about $25,000. Pending the time that additional funds are available and in the interest of health and sanitation, it has been deemed advisable to discontinue the use of that portion of the detention house which is reported as unfit. It is hoped that funds wherewith to defray the cost of overhauling this building may not long be wanting, as the structure will be urgently needed as soon as immigration via the port of Philadelphia is resumed.
The Baltimore station continues in use by the War Department as a part of the large base hospital constructed at Fort McHenry. It is stated by the officers in charge of this hospital that the immigration buildings have contributed largely to the efficient operation of the institution, and it is a matter of considerable satisfaction to know that in Baltimore, as at Ellis Island, our department has been able to make a material contribution to the welfare of sick and wounded soldiers returning from duty overseas.
The immigration building at Charleston, S. C., has been in use by the Navy Department as a clothing factory, but under the terms of a joint resolution of Congress it can be leased to private parties until such time as its use by the Government becomes necessary or desirable. It is stated that the building is admirably adapted for factory purposes, and it will obviously be a good administrative proposition to make the property produce an income and at the same time have it kept in repair by the tenant.
The New Orleans immigration station has been considerably used during the past year, especially in housing and caring for alien seamen temporarily detained for treatment. There are a number of desirable improvements to this establishment which the bureau would like to undertake, but a survey by Civil Engineer Howell indicates the need for the expenditure of a greater sum of money than can possibly be spared under present financial conditions. One item of this naturo is the substitution of oil fuel for coal in operating the heating plant. The high cost and lack of availability of coal at New Orleans are important factors for consideration, while the proximity of extensive oil fields and the cheapness of that commodity as fuel indicate the advisability of a change thereto. The cost of piping, tanks, burning equipment, etc., are, however, prohibitive under present conditions.
The old wooden station at Galveston which was severely damaged by the storm of 1915 has passed to the control of the Coast Guard, with the exception of storage space for equipment belonging to the Immigration Service. If any considerable volume of immigration reaches Galveston, it is proposed to acquire a suitable building by rental. At the present time, however, there is no necessity for such a station.
The San Francisco station continues to be a source of annoyance through the remoteness of its location and the general character of the buildings at Angel Island. The erection of inflammable wooden buildings was undoubtedly a mistake in the beginning, and this is perpetuated by their continued use. The situation of the station on an island calls for a large annual expenditure in ferry service, and this expense is constantly increasing.
To construct sanitary and fireproof buildings on the present site might cure some evils, but would leave the station for all time at a
point about 7 miles by water from the city of San Francisco. It costs the Government many thousands of dollars annually in time wasted in going back and forth to the island and it is difficult to compute the loss incurred by private individuals who must appear at the station in the transaction of the public business.
Repeated efforts have been made to secure an appropriation for station buildings on the mainland, and during the last session of Congress an amendment to the sundry civil appropriation bill was actually introduced to this end, but failed to receive favorable consideration. It is proposed to renew the item in the estimates that will shortly be prepared and it is earnestly recommended that the project be approved and enacted into law.
The immigration station at Honolulu is the largest wooden building in the Hawaiian Islands and a survey made during the past year indicates that the stability of the structure is being seriously imperiled by the white ants common to the Tropics. Most of the piling upon which the building stands has been eaten away and the timber superstructure is fast meeting the same fate. To repair the foundations of the building or stop the inroads of the insects are alike impossible, and it is estimated that the destruction will have proceeded so far by four years hence that it will become unsafe to occupy the station at all
. The construction of a new building of concrete or similar material will then become necessary, unless it is proposed to fall back upon rented quarters which, in the very nature of things, would have to be constructed especially for the purpose and entail a high rental charge.
LAND BORDER IMMIGRATION STATIONS. During the past year no progress has been made toward the acquirement of station buildings on the Mexican border, although a measure has been introduced in Congress looking to the erection of such a building at the port of El Paso. It is earnestly hoped that this project will materialize, as it is almost impossible to secure a suitable rented building at El Paso because of the unwillingness of anyone to build upon the land, the title to which is in a doubtful state. The Chamizal Zone at El Paso has been the subject of international negotiations for years, with no immediate prospect of settlement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that this department lend its support to the pending measure for a station at El Paso, the project being in the form of a public building bill.
The situation on the Canadian border is quite satisfactory, as the the law requires the transportation lines crossing the boundary to furnish suitable and approved stations, which they have very generally done.
THE ELLIS ISLAND SEA WALL. It is a matter of peculiar interest to the Immigration Service and all persons coming in contact with its work that there is being constructed at Ellis Island a type of sea wall which is new, unique, and remarkable in its engineering conception. The work has been proceeding for several years, but has only recently received that degree of recognition which its novel character seems to justify. Chief Engineer Alfred Brooks Fry and Civil Engineer Frank S. Howell developed and constructed this large and important improvement and it is worthy of note that the Scientific American, in its issue of April 26, 1919, grants recognition to this engineering feat with a full-page illustration and accompanying description, both of which are reprinted herewith, by permission of the publishers of that journal.
THE GROWTH OF ELLIS ISLAND.
An interesting piece of engineering work is being done at Ellis Island, the purt through which immigrants enter New York. The island really consists of three parts, only one of which constitutes the original island, and that has been greatly extended. The growth of the island is shown in our title page illustration, where in the upper lefthand corner may be seen the area of the original island and its extension in 1890. Later two other islands were built to the southwest of the first one. On island No. 2 are the hospital buildings and on island No. 3 are the wards for patients suffering from contagious diseases. The original island, known as “Oyster Island," was barely 4 acres in extent. It now covers 10 acres and will soon be extended to over 16 acres. The basin between islands No. 2 and No. 3 will be filled in and the whole area of Ellis Island will then cover more than 28 acres or seven times the area of the original island. The extension is shown in the upper right-hand corner of the title-page illustration.
Between the main island and island No. 2 there is a ferry basin inclused by a sea wall which originally was built on crib work,. Every year this waterway has to be dredged out to get rid of accumulations of sediment, and this constant dredging has had the effect of undermining the crib work so that the walks bordering the sea walls recently began to sag and break away, with the probability that before long the whole wall would topple over into the water, To remedy this condition, it was decided to build new sea walls of concrete, reaching down to such a depth that they could not possibly be undermined by dredging. The work on these walls is now proceeding;
The new walls are built of huge concrete blocks just outside the crib work walls. First a trench is dredged in which are laid bags of concrete. These on hardening form a good foundation for the wall. In order to furnish the concrete blocks with a level bed to rest on, railroad rails are placed at either side of the bag-work foundation and the space between them is filled with concrete deposited by means of bottom-dumping buckets. Before placing the concrete, divers calk up any openings between the rails and the bag work by means of long narrow bags filled with concrete. The concrete fill is smoothed off by means of divers, who lay a rail across the marginal rails and slide it along the foundation. In this way the concrete is leveled off very nicely. Whenever the divers find a pocket that needs filling, they signal to the surface for a bucket of concrete to fill the cavity.
After the fluor has set, the concrete blocks are laid upon it. These are huge masses of concrete, 17 feet high and 12 feet wide, measuring 9 feet thick at the bottom and 5 feet 2 inches at the top. They weigh about 87 tons apiece. The process of lowering them into position and adjusting them properly on the foundation is no simple one. In order to handle the blocks, chain grooves are formed in them and when the chains are removed, slots 12 inches in diameter are formed between adjacent blocks. These form a key that will lock each block to the next one. On top of these blocks a concrete wall is built, faced with granite blocks, the stone being anchored to the concrete by means of cramp irons.
Around islands No. 2 and No. 3 where deep water is not required, the original crib foundation has been utilized and on this is being built a new, molded concrete wall faced with granite, of the design shown in the lower left-hand corner of the accompanying illustration.
THE ANARCHISTIC CLASSES.
Soon after the United States entered the World War the bureau was informed that there were within our borders aliens whose views with regard to government, property, and life, it was alleged, brought them within the so-called anarchistic classes, which are defined in our immigration law as follows:
Anarchists, or persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow by force or violence of the Government of the United States, or of all forms of law, or who disbelieve in or are opposed to organized government, or who advocate the assassination of public officials, or who advocate or teach the unlawful destruction of property; pe:sons who are members of or affiliated with any organization entertaining and teaching disbelief in or opposition to organized governinent, or who advocate or teach the duty, necessity,