Historic Timeline of United States Life-Saving Station/United States Coast Guard Station


The United States Life-Saving Service, an organization born from the Treasury Department’s Revenue Marine Division, builds Seatack Life-Saving Station #2. The structure stands in the middle of what is now 24th Street at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. This was one of the first structures built along the barren coastline of Virginia Beach. This two store frame building housed the Station Keeper and Surfmen, with storage for a single boat and equipment.


The United States Life-Saving Service contracts a new station to the ocean side of the original building. Much larger, this station better accommodates the men and equipment of the Life-Saving Service. It provided a large boat and equipment room, plus quarters for the keeper and a crew of six or seven surfmen. Designed by architect George R. Tolman for the Treasury Department, this “Q” type station represented a more modern approach to life-saving at the dawn of the 20th Century. Many more of the “Q” types were built in other eastern districts in the early 1900s. Though later modified, this 1903 structure is the building that now houses the museum.


The United States Life-Saving Service merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the United States Coast Guard. The 1903 Station and original 1878 structure now became United States Coast Guard Station, Station #162.


The 1903 building underwent a significant remodel, done by the Coast Guard. The USCG built a larger, more prominent lookout tower at the front of the building, replacing the original tower in the center. They also expanded the boat room and added dormer windows. Though later renovated and restored, the structure remains the same today.


The United States Government constructs a new Post Office at 24th Street & Atlantic Avenue, across the street from the station. Later that year, the 1878 structure was moved onto the northwest corner of the Post Office property. It continued to be used by the CG.


The original 1878 structure was demolished. It had been used by the USCG as an electronics and communications building. Coast Guardsmen now performed modern radio switchboard communications in the tower of the 1903 building. Though surfboat drills were still regularly performed, Search & Rescue operations were executed using modern “LARC” amphibious craft.


As new technologies made the oceanfront station redundant and obsolete, the Coast Guard chose to end the building’s long and distinguished service. In a ceremony held on January 15, 1969, this building, Coast Guard Station Virginia Beach, Station #162, was officially decommissioned.