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Historic Julia Morgan cottages on Angel Island to be rebuilt

Architect Julie Morgan’s U.S. Immigration Station bungalow cottages on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay are seen in a 1960 photo. | Source: California State Parks

A pair of Angel Island cottages designed by one of California’s most famous architects will be rebuilt thanks to a fresh infusion of state money. 

State Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, announced Monday that $1 million has been secured to rebuild two of the 12 cottages designed by Julia Morgan. 

“Not many people know that Angel Island was the entry point for thousands of immigrants on the West Coast, especially for Asians looking for a new life in the United States. I want to make history come alive for visitors, providing an invaluable opportunity to learn about the past and imagine a more inclusive future,” Ting said.

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The cottages, which once housed immigration station workers, were destroyed by a fire 52 years ago during a fire training exercise, according to Ting’s announcement. 

The rebuilding of the cottages, scheduled to finish in 2026, is part of a larger project that includes work on the dock, outdoor terraces and other buildings, Ting said. 

“Angel Island is a living landmark for all immigrants, their descendants and their families,” said Edward Tepporn, executive director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. “It symbolizes diverse experiences of racism, exclusion, detention, resilience and hope. When you visit the site, you have the rare chance to learn about—and feel—the history of an important chapter in California and U.S. history,” 

Between 1910 and 1940, some 500,000 immigrants were processed through the Angel Island Immigration Station, known as the Ellis Island of the West.

“It was created to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act and other anti-immigrant policies designed to try to keep Asian and Pacific Island immigrants from entering the U.S.,” according to Ting’s announcement.