Deer Island, in Boston Harbor, has long been a place where the City relegated its unwanted. It has been the site of an orphanage, a prison, and during the An Gorta Mor (The Great Hunger) a quarantine station, which originally consisted of no more that tents to house the Irish emigrants who were arriving in the Port of Boston by the boatload. Many were certified as being healthy enough to venture into the City, but those who were too sick to go into the City were kept in the quarantine station until they got better of until they died. Those that died were buried in common, unmarked graves in an area near to where the "coffin ships" unloaded their human cargo.
Many of Irish descent in the New England area and beyond can trace their ancestors to those who entered Boston by way of the Deer Island Quarantine Station.
Now, some 160 years later, a committee is raising funds for a memorial on Deer Island, saying it would bestow dignity and reverence to the memory of the Irish immigrants who are buried there. The memorial's proposed site, on the very tip of the island's eastern end, can be seen from almost every point along the harbor's edge.
A $50,000 grant has been approved by the city's Edward Ingersoll Browne Trust Fund, and a fund for the rest of the estimated $100,000 cost has been set up.