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
[email protected]
Direct:  757-824-1309[/box]

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, this building functioned as the Wallops Employee Morale Association (WEMA) Recreational Facility from information published in 2004. An associated Observation Tower, also built in 1936, is located to the immediate northeast.

The WFF Coast Guard Station is currently in “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 Shari Silbert with the WFF Environmental Office.  Although the WFF is trying its best to maintain the integrity of the facility and the building envelope, getting maintenance funding for this effort is and has been difficult, so very little maintenance has been performed recently.

The last major remedial effort, occurring about 2009, was the abatement of lead paint which they were required to do when their plans were to give the facility away to a historic 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.

Over the years, several ideas for repurposing the building have arisen but never implemented, due to lack of funding or other complications.  The station has now been turned over to the General Services Administration, who will conduct a public auction.  The buyer must remove the building from the NASA property.  It is hoped that the buyer will move the structure to another site and preserve it, rather than just salvage the materials.  However, the GSA must accept the highest bidder, regardless of intention of the buyer.