Scenic USA - New Jersey

Tatham Lifesaving Station

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Tatham Lifesaving Station - Stone Harbor, New Jersey

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     The U.S. Lighthouse Service was established in 1789 to maintain America's lighthouses and sea markers, warning ships of nearby dangers. Each year annual reports contained a list of heroic deeds where light keepers aided mariners in distress. By 1831, the Lighthouse Service began to provide rescue craft where some of the most hazardous conditions prevailed.
     A fledgling lifesaving organization was set-up in 1848, loosely managed without leadership or inspections. Nearly abandoned during the Civil War, Sumner Increase Kimball took charge of the U.S. Lifesaving Service in 1871. By 1874, service members were held to Kimball's strict rules and regulations. A network of coastal stations were organized from Maine to Florida, each utilizing a six-man crew. Lifesaving Station rescue boat- late 19th century Eventually, stations were organized throughout the Great Lakes, the Gulf and western coasts and even a station in Alaska.
     Established in 1871, the Tatham Lifesaving Station is the oldest building in Stone Harbor. Used as a Coast Guard station from 1915 to 1945, the Stone Harbor building now houses the Ludlam American Legion Post 331, war memorabilia and museum displays of the maritime service. Named after Stephen C. Ludlam, recipient of the Purple Heart and Distinguished Service Cross, the building endures as a remarkable restoration effort by post members and the community of Stone Harbor.
     Designed by architect George R. Tolman in 1895, the Duluth style station was one of eleven built between 1894 and 1908. Named after the city were the first station was built, the buildings were fitted with an integral square tower. Here at the Cold Spring Life-Saving Station an outdoor display houses a typical surf boat used by lifesaving personal. This example (inset) was saved by post members in 2006, believing to have served at the Chatham Station in Cape Cod during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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