This Quonchontaug-type station was built in 1902. It was not the first on this site. The original station was one of the first wave of stations erected on Long Island (NY) in 1849, and 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. The town wanted it removed from the beach, so 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 placed in the original site, due to shifting sands it is farther from the ocean than previously, thus better protected from the surf. Robert Hefner, East Hampton town’s historic preservation consultant, said that the architecture of the building remains largely intact.
The future of the former Life-Saving Station now rests with the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Society, Inc. (ALSCGS) who was given the task from the East Hampton Town Board. The Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Restoration Committee raised the necessary funds to have completed in 2011 a historic structure report on the building.
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 restoration is now complete. 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 there 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, NY, home of Frederick Beebe’s original boatyard. This surfboat, which spent its working life nearby at the New Shoreham station on Block Island, RI, 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.
The station will be open to the public for the first time on May 20, 2017, for a Re-Commissioning Ceremony. It will be in full use in the summer following.
Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Society, Inc. http://amagansettlss.org
Ocean Keeper movie: http://www.oceankeeperthemovie.com