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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lewes in Sussex County, Delaware — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Life Saving Station

Lewes Maritime History Trail

 
 
Life Saving Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, October 15, 2010
1. Life Saving Station Marker
Inscription. The United States Life Saving Service (U.S.L.S.S.) was commissioned to rescue shipwrecked mariners along our nation's coast. Established in 1876 and 1884, repectively, the Cape Henlopen and Lewes stations worked together to save thousands of lives, hundreds of ships, and recover millions of dollars worth of cargo.
Perhaps the most significant event in the history of the Cape Henlopen and Lewes stations was the Great Blizzard of March 12 -14, 1888, when a clear and calm late winter's day turned into a ferocious "white hurricane". Years later, the Life-Saving Service Surfman recalled that the winds blew ice and sand so hard it "could cut your eyes out." Sailors lashed themselves to the rigging to avoid being washed overboard, but it meant death for many who froze and died there.
In 1915, as sailing ships were replaced by steam-powered vessels and wrecks occurred with less frequency, the U.S.L.S.S. merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the U.S. Coast Guard.
 
Erected by City of Lewes.
 
Location. 38° 46.686′ N, 75° 8.486′ W. Marker is in Lewes, Delaware, in Sussex County. Marker is on Shipcarpenter Street near Pilottown Road when traveling north. Touch for map.
Life Saving Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Life Saving Station Marker
2. Life Saving Station Marker
(Lower left picture)
The Life-Saving Service, largely forgotten today, provided the dramatic news of the day and the stories that sold newspapers — rescuing lives through dark and stormy seas, braving all matter of weather conditions and risking life and limb to save strangers.Harper's Weekly provided this illustration of surfmen readying to launch their surfboat into crashing waves.
Located at the end of Shipcarpenter Street. Marker is in this post office area: Lewes DE 19958, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Overfalls Lightship (here, next to this marker); The Blizzard of 1888 (a few steps from this marker); Menhaden Fishing Industry (a few steps from this marker); Lightship Overfalls (within shouting distance of this marker); Hiram Rodney Burton House (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); John Penrose Virden (about 800 feet away); Ryves Holt House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lewes (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lewes.
 
Also see . . .  the U.S.L.S.S. Living History Association. These poor, plain men, dwellers upon the lonely sands ...took their lives in their hands, and, at the most imminent risk, crossed the most tumultuous sea..., and all for what? That others might live to see home and friends.- Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Live-Saving Service, 1885.... (Submitted on November 28, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
Life Saving Station Marker Background picture image. Click for full size.
By Life Saving Station Marker, City of Lewes
3. Life Saving Station Marker Background picture
Life Saving Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Life Saving Station Marker
4. Life Saving Station Marker
(Top right picture)
Drilling, cleaning and preparation composed the majority of a Surfman's time. Men of the Cape Henlopen Life-Saving Station tend to their surfboat.
(Top right center picture)
The Lewes Life-Saving Station was built in 1884 and was located on Lewes Beach, immediately west of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal. After being relocated to Cape Henlopen, it was moved again to Rehoboth Beach where it still stands as the Rehoboth VFW.
Life Saving Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Life Saving Station Marker
5. Life Saving Station Marker
(Lower right pictures)
Surfmen were very proud of their stations and didn't need the orders that required them to keep their buildings clean and in good repair. As all surfmen up and down the coasts did, Lewes (above) and Cape Henlopen(below) surfmen often gathered for a picture.
Life Saving Station and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, October 15, 2010
6. Life Saving Station and Marker
Drilling, cleaning and preparation image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 3, 2013
7. Drilling, cleaning and preparation
Drilling, cleaning and preparation composed the majority of a Surfman's time. Men of the Cape of Henlopen Life-Saving Station tend to their surfboat.
Life Saving Station image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 3, 2013
8. Life Saving Station
The Lewes Life-Saving Station was built in 1884 and was located on Lewes Beach immediately west of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal. After being relocated to Cape Henlopen, it was moved againt to Rehoboth Beach where it still stands as the Rehoboth VFW.
Lewes Surfmen image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 3, 2013
9. Lewes Surfmen
Cape Henlopen Surfmen image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 3, 2013
10. Cape Henlopen Surfmen
Surfmen were very proud of their stations and didn't need the orders that required them to keep their buildings clean and in good repair. As all surfmen up and down the coasts did, Lewes (above) and Cape Henlopen (below) surfmen gathered for a picture.
You Are Here image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 3, 2013
11. You Are Here
Sign over the Door image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 3, 2013
12. Sign over the Door
Regulations say we have to go out,
they say nothing about coming back
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 28, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 595 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 28, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on February 18, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.
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