Life Lines, October 2019

U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association
October 2019

Station Rochester, NY Photo Credit: Board Member Jeff Shook

Welcome to Life Lines the monthly newsletter for our members of the U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association.  For those of you reading and have yet to join, please consider doing so. Your membership will get you access to the station inventory link and our new venture to create a “Surfmans’ Data Base.”   If you would like to join please go to

Other ways you can support our organization is to volunteer your time to one of the committees:  membership, research, publications, grants, station inventory, surfmans’ registry, and also offering your time to be on the board of directors.  If you are interested in any of these opportunities please contact us through our website.

The 2019 annual conference was located in Rochester, New York and was just held September 26-28.  The upcoming Wreck and Rescue issue will include more information.  Mark your calendars now for the 2020 conference near Kittery, Maine.  The dates for that conference are September 24-26, 2020.

Publications Now Available as Print-on-Demand


The two books that the USLSSHA produced are now available by print-on-demand at  Search for either “They Had to Go Out” or “Rescue: The Stories of the U.S. Life-Saving Service” edited by John Galluzzo.  If you have not added these two books to your library here is your chance to do so.


Chronology of Coast Guard History

If you were looking for a link to a chronology of Coast Guard History here is that link.  I will leave it permanently on Life Lines for you to access each month. I found this really useful and interesting.

New Use for Cleveland Coast Guard Station

Photo Credit: Cleveland Foundry Page

The 2007 annual conference made a pilgrimage from Erie, PA to Cleveland just to meet with interested parties who wanted and were working to restore the historic Coast Guard Station.  If you go to you will see the group photo for the 2007 was taken in front of this structure.  Notice the “Keep Out of Building” sign over to the left of the group up against the structure.  A lot has changed since our trip to Cleveland.

The following is from the Foundry site:

The Foundry partners with the Cleveland Metroparks to run high school and college sailing practices and host regattas from the Historic Coast Guard Station off Whiskey Island, a National Historic Landmark.

The Foundry has spent $1.5 million fixing up the station, owned by the city of Cleveland and operated by the Metroparks. The Foundry brings in space heaters for spring and fall events, since there’s still no heat, electricity or plumbing.

The harbor is full of brightly colored 420 dinghies, boasting the script Cleveland on their sails. And there are bigger boats, like Tartan 10s, which the Metroparks use to teach sailing classes.

“Our partnership with the Foundry has helped the community experience our waterfront in new ways including through sailing programs at the historic former Coast Guard station,” Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman said in an email. “We look forward to building on these opportunities and connecting all members of the community with our greatest natural resource, Lake Erie.”


To see videos of the inside and in use go to

Black Powder Canister and DuPont Label

Photo Credit:  Collections photograph Old Baldy Lighthouse and Smith Island Museum of History, South Carolina

Those of you members who have been around for a while with the organization remember those DuPont Black Powder labels that would show up from time to time at the annual silent auction.  There was always speculation that this was not officially a U.S. Life-Saving Service product.  Here is an actual artifact that challenges all of our thinking.  Maybe one of you has something from the national archives that is the written proof and would like to share with everyone else.  Contact us through our website.

I have made the trip to the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Delaware and have taken the grounds tour where you are shared the history of black powder development by DuPont.  What you learn if you take this tour is that until DuPont perfected the development of it, black powder was not reliable to use.  DuPont’s black powder was considered the most reliable.  So it made perfect sense to me, even without written proof that the U.S. Life-Saving Service would need to use the most reliable black powder to complete their rescues.  For me it also meant that these labels showing the surfboats in the water and marked along the top as “U.S. Life-Saving Service” are the real thing not just a mock-up of something that didn’t happen.

When I toured the Hagley a few years back these labels were in a display and were for sale in the gift shop.  At the time they mentioned they knew the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service and relationship to DuPont Black Powder.  They seemed confused that there were doubters.  The gift shop attendants also told me they had so many of these labels printed in storage that if I bought a number of them they could easily restock the display.   If you want one for your collection contact the museum gift shop, or I may need to bring more of mine to the next conference silent auction.  Yet another reason to attend the annual meetings.

Wood Island Helping Our Community

Photo Credit: Wood Island Life Saving Station Association

The Wood Island Life Saving Station Association has been busy this past year doing more than just restoring the historic building at the entrance to the river at no cost to the taxpayers of Kittery.

With your help, $5000 was raised and donated by WILSSA to the men and women of the US Coast Guard when the federal government was shut down this January.  Also, other charities have been raising funds for themselves from auctioning visits to Wood Island.  The Agamenticus Yacht Club and the Piscataqua Garden Club have both done so and the Gundalow Company and Friends for Fuel are planning to do so soon.

WILSSA is so pleased to be able to lend a hand.  Generosity is not a one way street.  Even as WILSSA is working hard to raise funds to complete the station’s restoration, we are so glad to be part of the larger Seacoast community.  If we can help others, in any way, please let us know. 

And please consider attending the Friends for Fuel event to bid on a guided visit to Wood Island Station! 

Click here for tickets (before it sells out!):

Read the following article on a family history associated with the Wood Island station.  We hope to hear more and meet the family next year at the 2020 conference in Maine.

Kittery, Maine is the Next Destination for the 2020 Annual Conference

Photo courtesy of the Wood Island Life Saving Station Association

The 2020 Annual Conference and Meeting will be in and around Kittery, Maine and will include stations between Nahant, Massachusetts along the coast of New Hampshire and to the southern edge of Maine.   The dates are September 24-26, 2020.  Mark your calendars and save some time to make the trip. 

Watch this site and Wreck and Rescue for more information.

If you have a story to submit for the next Life Lines please contact us through our website.

Also consider joining the Life Lines staff.  We are now three and more are welcome to join us.  If you wanted to have a role or contribute to the organization this is your opportunity to do so.