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Wallops Beach Lifeboat Station (1933) Wallops Island, VA

For any questions pertaining to this facility contact Randall Stanley, WFF Historic Preservation Officer:

Randall M. Stanley
NASA / WFF FMB, Code 228
Building N-161, Room 127
Wallops Island, VA  23337
Direct:  757-824-1309

This station is located in NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF). The first station, built in 1883, was destroyed by a hurricane in August of 1933 and rebuilt that same year. It was discontinued in 1947 and acquired by Navy Department as a firing range. Located along the main access road toward the northern end of Wallops Island, the two-and-one-half story Colonial Revival building originally served as the Wallops Beach Lifeboat Station. No longer in Coast Guard ownership, the building functioned as the Wallops Employee Morale Association (WEMA) Recreational Facility from information published in 2004. An associated Coast Guard Observation Tower, also built in 1936,, is located to the immediate northeast.

The Wallops Beach Lifeboat Station is currently in a “mothballed” state, meaning that it is not in use and off limits to most people unless coordinated through the office of the Facilities Management Branch at Wallops, or through the WFF Environmental Office. Although the WFF is trying to maintain the integrity of the facility and the building, getting maintenance funding for this effort is and has been difficult, so very little work has been performed recently.

The last major remedial effort, occurring about 2009, was the abatement of lead paint which was required when the plans were to give the facility to a historical society or some other organization that would be in a position to preserve it. Paint has been removed from the exterior, all interior plaster has been removed, and the windows, doors and interior trim have been removed in order to remediate the lead paint. All of these items are currently stored in the facility and the windows have been boarded up to guard against weather intrusion.

In the midst of planning for the giveaway, another idea was explored to re-locate the facility to the central part of Wallops Island and to modify the facility as VIP meeting space. This would require updating the building to current code including ADA compliance. Funding for this effort has also been non-existent.

A recently completed Environmental Functional Review (EFR), which included cultural resources at WFF and therefore at this facility, recommended that a few roof leaks needed to be fixed and that the trim and the doors associated with the basement be moved off of direct contact with the concrete floor to prevent deterioration. These steps will be accomplished when funding can be found.

With additional expansion planned for the north end of Wallops Island (where the Coast Guard Station is located), it is only a matter of time until the facility will again be in the spotlight. WFF will again want to explore the option of donating the building to a historical society that has the financial means required for its proper maintenance.