The Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station is now listed as a National Historical Site. It received a New York State historic designation in June. Being listed on the state and national registries can assist property owners in maintaining and restoring historic sites. These programs include making the site eligible for public preservation services, such as matching state grants and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.
The Coast Guard Station played an important role in East Hampton Town’s maritime history. The building is also dedicated to all who served at the Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving & Coast Guard Station from 1902 to 1944. The station is now a museum and it was successfully restored to its original appearance and returned to its original site several years ago.
The Amagansett station was constructed on Atlantic Avenue and operated alongside 30 other life-saving stations on the south shore of Long Island. If the crew discovered a ship in distress, the life savers would perform a rescue by launching their surfboat or by firing a line to the ship and taking people off with a breeches buoy. From 1902 to 1937, the crew of the Amagansett Life-Saving Station, most of who were experienced local fishermen and shore whalers, kept watch over the area, rescuing sailors and passengers from several shipwrecks.
The station also played a role in World War II, when a coastguardsman came upon Nazi saboteurs who had come ashore from a U-boat, buried boxes of explosives on the beach, and tried to make their way to New York City before being apprehended. This incident led to the establishment of the Coast Guard Beach Patrol, which would eventually grow to include 24,000 men. The patrol would play an important role in defending the coast during the war.
For more information on the nominations, visit the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation’s website at www.parks.ny.gov/shpo/national-register/nominations.aspx.