Many people were pleased to see the excellent turnout Sunday afternoon at a gathering at the Town Marine Museum to talk about the Amagansett Life-Saving Station on Atlantic Avenue. This is a hopeful signal that the town-owned building may soon be restored, and the Life-Saving Service and its successor, the United States Coast Guard, at last be awarded the local recognition they deserve.
The Amagansett station is unusual among historical sites here in that it is one of a very few that figure in the national narrative. Part of a string of similar posts along the shoreline, the station’s crews patrolled in relative anonymity until June, 1942, when a Coast Guardsman met a group of German would-be saboteurs who had been rowed ashore from a U-boat on a mission of destruction. Though one of the plotters turned himself in to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the plan fell apart, the investigation had been touched off by a report from Amagansett. In recent times, the military tribunals used to deal with suspected Al Qaeda agents at Guantanemo Bay had their legal antecedents in the trial of the German saboteurs.
A lot of money must be raised to restore the Atlantic Avenue building to its original appearance. The community preservation fund could help and might be considered a supplemental source, but the town board has been parsimonious about it, and there is a legal hitch to be overcome. Donations, should any readers be so moved, will be welcomed and can be made out to the East Hampton Historical Society and mailed to Box 51, Amagansett 11930.