top of page
banner v2bweb.jpg

They were called storm fighters, and they were called storm warriors. When wind and wave conspired to kill those who dared to tread upon the sea, the men of the United States Life-Saving Service left the comfort of their sturdy stations and entered the battle. With nothing more than wooden boats, cork life jackets and the oil-skin foul weather gear on their backs, they let their muscle, determination and bravery lead the way. Time and again they smirked in the face of danger, and stole back the lives of men who were supposed to be dead, victims intended to be claimed by shipwrecks caused by storms. (excerpt from USLSS webpage)

After Congress passed the Newell Act in 1848, a series of life saving stations was first constructed on Long Island in 1849. More money was appropriated in 1855, and additional stations were built. The Mecox Station site was established in 1849. This is not currently an active site. It was active from 1849-1921 and then from 1925-1933 (Listed as inactive 1922-1924 and 1934-1941)
 
Mecox Life Saving Station and crew, 1910
 original photograph by Ernest Clowes 
The U. S. Life-Saving Service was established in 1871 to aid mariners in distress. Additional funding allowed for the reconstruction of existing lifesaving stations and the construction of more. First a volunteer organization, then a government agency, the U.S.L.S.S. conducted ship-to-shore rescues in the days before modern navigation
The brave local volunteers were instrumental in averting numerous tragedies and saving the lives of hundreds of sailors and passengers.
 
Mecox Life Saving Station: Crew Performing Lifesaving Drill, c. 1900; photograph by Ernest Clowes 
From left to right: 
Captain John N. Hedges, E. Forrest Stephens (Manager of local bathing station), plus other un-named crew
hunting web 1.webp
In 1876, members of the Mecox USLS station played a pivotal role in rescuing the crew of the shipwrecked vessel, the Circassian, Commanded by Superintendent Captain Henry Hunting.
 
 The Life Saving Service crew and local volunteers gathered at the Life Saving Station on December 11th but was thwarted by inclement weather. The weather calmed the following day and that morning the first group of seamen was brought ashore. Rescue operations continued and eventually the entire crew of the Circassian was successfully rescued. It had been a heroic effort by the Life Savers.

Captain Henry Huntting of the U.S. Life Saving Service (image courtesy of Southampton History Museum)
The U.S.L.S.S changed radically with the invention of power boats. In 1915, the agency merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to become a new organization, the U. S. Coast Guard.
This site was closed permanently 1934 and no station buildings survive at this site, but the 1877 station house may have been moved to Noyac in 1947. Presently, the original site is partially underwater.
usl small station 2web.jpg
 
Mecox Life Saving Station and crew, 1910
 original photograph by Ernest Clowes 
 
Mecox Life Saving Station: Boat Drill With Passengers,
c. 1900 original photograph by Ernest Clowes
The volunteer rescuers of the United States Life-Saving Service were everyday local citizens: fishermen, lobstermen, crabbers, and other watermen who grew up along America's shores. What distinguished them was their willingness to step up and answer the call to help others. And as volunteers, they asked for nothing more than a "thank you".
By 1915, the USLSS had saved more than 186,000 lives. We are honored to have our local Bridgehampton residents as contributors to having changed the course of so many people and families. 
uslss bottom border v1.png
bottom of page