Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving & Coast Guard Station Society

History

For a period of almost 100 years, from 1849 to 1946, a life-saving station was maintained at Amagansett by the Life Saving Benevolent Association, the United States Life-Saving Service and finally by the United States Coast Guard. In addition to the Amagansett Station, there were also Life-Saving Stations at Ditch Plain, Hither Plain, Napeague and Georgica. The purpose of the network of life-saving stations was to rescue victims from coastal shipwrecks. The stations were equipped with surf boats, life boats and life-saving apparatus. Many local men served at the Amagansett Life-Saving Station including members of the Barnes, Edwards, King, Lester, Loper, Miller, Mulford, Osborn, Schellinger and Stratton families.

 

 

 

This is the third and last of the Amagansett Life-Saving Stations. It was built on Atlantic Avenue below the bluff by the United States Life-Saving Service in 1902. The station was built to a standard plan known as the Quonochontaug-type station first built at Quonochontaug on Rhode Island's barrier beach. The 1902 Amagansett Station was operated by the U.S. Life-Saving Service until 1915 and then by the Coast Guard until 1946. The Amagansett Life-Saving Station was moved to 200 Bluff Road in 1966 where it became a private residence. It has now been donated to the Town of East Hampton by the Carmichael family, and moved back to its original location on Atlantic Avenue.

 

 

 

The Amagansett Life-Saving Station retains a good level of architectural integrity. The Station incorporates a lookout tower, boat room, and quarters for the crew. The lookout tower is integrated into the broad shingle roof which flows down over the wraparound porch and is interrupted only by a single dormer window on each slope. This original exterior form is entirely intact. The boat room, a 30' x 34' room with an 11' ceiling where the surfboats were stored, remains as one open room and retains the original paneling on the walls and ceiling and has the original corner closets. The configuration of first-floor rooms of the quarters, keeper's room, kitchen, mess room and stair hall) remains essentially intact. On the second floor the large quarters of the surfmen and the store rooms over the boat room remain. Many other interior features remain intact including the stairway, doorways and wood paneling and wainscot.

 

 

 

The 1902 Amagansett Life-Saving Station is architecturally significant as an example of the Quonochontaug-type life-saving station designed by George R. Tolman, chief architect of the U.S. Life-Saving Service from 1892 to 1896. The design of the Quonochontaug-type station incorporates the lookout tower, the boat room and the living quarters into one building with a strong architectural presence.

 

 

The 1902 Amagansett Life-Saving Station is historically significant for its association with East Hampton's maritime history. This Station is one of only a handful of surviving structures, which include the Montauk Point Lighthouse, that convey that era of our maritime history when ships sailing the ocean provided the principal means of transporting goods and people in coastal America. The Amagansett Life-Saving Station also recalls the lives of the captains and surfmen, most from local families, who served here.

 

 

 

The 1902 Amagansett Life-Saving Station is also significant for its associations with East Hampton's military history. During the Second World War the Coast Guard maintained beach patrols from East Hampton's life-saving stations. Coastguardsman John Cullen was patrolling from this station on the night of June 13, 1942 when he encountered four Nazi saboteurs who landed from a U-boat a short distance east from Atlantic Avenue. Cullen returned to the Amagansett Station where his Chief reported the incident to Coast Guard intelligence in New York. The saboteurs were later captured.

 

 

 

The Amagansett Life-Saving Station meets the criteria for designation as a historic landmark as set forth in Town Code § 255 -7-25 A (2). The Amagansett Life-Saving Station possesses special character, historic and aesthetic interest and value as part of the cultural, economic and social history of East Hampton and embodies the distinguishing characteristics of a building type.

 

 

 

— Robert Hefner

 

April 5, 2007

 

 

amagansett logo

160 Atlantic Avenue

Amagansett, Ny  11930

crew with carts crew at breeches pole