New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced Friday that the Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station in East Hampton has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was previously named to the New York State Register of Historic Places in June.
The designation gives the nonprofit that operates the property the ability to apply for matching state grant and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits for preservation programs and services.
The Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station on Atlantic Avenue in Amagansett reopened in 2017 as a museum, hosting artifacts chronicling the efforts of Life-Saving Service and Coast Guard members who worked through the facility from when it was opened in 1902 until it was decommissioned.
The effort to restore the station was led by David Lys, currently a member of the East Hampton Town Board and President of the Board of Trustees of the Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station.
The Amagansett Station was was one of a network of 30 life-saving stations on the South Shore of Long Island. The crew at these stations kept watch from the lookout tower and by patrolling the beach. Discovering a ship in distress, the life-savers would perform a rescue by launching their surfboat or by firing a line to the ship and taking people off with a breeches buoy. From 1902 to 1937, the crew of the Amagansett Life-Saving Station, most of who were experienced local fishermen and shore whalers, kept watch over this beach and rescued sailors and passengers from several shipwrecks. The station is also associated with an incident in World War II when coastguardsmen discovered four boxes of explosives buried in the sand by Nazi agents who had landed on the beach from a U-boat. The agents were later apprehended and tried. This incident led to the establishment of the Coast Guard Beach Patrol, which grew to consist of 24,000 men and played an important role in coastal defense during the war.