The Amagansett Life-Saving Station will be open to the public for the first time on May 20, 2017, for a Re-Commissioning Ceremony hosted by the Amangansett U.S. Life-Saving and U.S. Coast Guard Society (ALSCGS). The Station will be opening as a museum this summer.
This Quonchontaug-type station was built in East Hampton, New York, in 1902. It was the third station erected at this site. The original station was one of the first wave of stations erected on Long Island (NY) in 1849. It was replaced by an 1876-type station in 1876. The 1902 station remained in service until 1944, when it was decommissioned.
The station house remained abandoned until 1966 when the town wanted it removed from the beach. Joel Carmichael purchased the station for one dollar and moved it up onto the bluff above. There it remained a family residence until the death of Mr. Carmichael in 2006. The family then decided to give the station back to the town, and in 2007, it was moved back to the original location, in the dunes below the bluff off Atlantic Avenue. This move is the subject of Eileen Torpey’s documentary film, Ocean Keeper. Although in its original site, shifting sands placed it farther from the ocean than previously, thus it was better protected from the surf. Robert Hefner, East Hampton town’s historic preservation consultant, said that the architecture of the building remained largely intact.
The East Hampton Town Board tasked the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Society, Inc. (ALSCGS) to raise the necessary funds to have a historic structure report on the building completed in 2011. This report guided the restoration process to return the station to its 1902 appearance. Exterior restoration was completed in 2014, and the interior in the spring of 2017.
The station will house a museum dedicated to the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service and the U.S. Coast Guard in East Hampton, including the Nazi saboteur landing off Amagansett during World War II. It will also contain an administrative office for the East Hampton Town lifeguards.
The museum will be housed in the boat room. Already on display is a Beebe surfboat, the last one known to exist. Currently under construction is a replica carriage for this boat. Once this is finished the boat will undergo a complete restoration in nearby Greenport, New York, home of Frederick Beebe’s original boatyard. This surfboat, which spent its working life nearby at the New Shoreham station on Block Island, Rhode Island, is owned by the National Parks Service and is on loan to the ALSCGS. They are also seeking to obtain a McLellan-type beach apparatus, either on loan from a museum or by construction of a replica.
Submitted by David Lys, President, ALS&CGS, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Candace was the US Lighthouse Society historian from 2016 until she passed away in August 2018. For 30 years, her work involved lighthouse history. She worked with the National Park Service and the Council of American Maritime Museums. She was a noted author and was considered the most knowledgable person on lighthouse information at the National Archives. Books by Candace Clifford include: Women who Kept the Lights: a History of Thirty-eight Female Lighthouse Keepers , Mind the Light Katie, and Maine Lighthouses, Documentation of their Past.