Borough of Manasquan, New Jersey

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Squan Beach Life Saving Station Preservation Committee

Pertaining to the Squan Beach Life Saving Station project and a grant proposed by the New Jersey Historic Trust (NJHT) you can find more information about this organization by clicking on the image below.


‘A Non Profit Organization’
PO Box 45 , Manasquan, New Jersey 08736-0045

Our Journey

E stablished in 1902, the Squan Beach Life Saving Station is located about 1000 feet from the Atlantic Ocean in Manasquan. This Duluth-style facility served to house volunteers and equipment used to save victims of shipwrecks off the Manasquan area coast. In the 1930's the station became part of the US Coast Guard and served as the Manasquan Coast Guard Station until 1996 when it was decommissioned and later sold July 26, 2000, to the borough for $1.00.

The station and the community have shared a lifelong maritime heritage. Historic records indicate that even before the borough was incorporated in 1887, a station was located at this site in 1856 to serve as a first responder for those in trouble in the treacherous waters along the state’s oceanfront. (The present station had replaced two former wooden structures that were either destroyed during a storm or inadequate for the service.) Many of the streets in Manasquan are named after local sea captains. Families in town volunteered their homes and hospitality to the Coast Guard communication recruits while they were trained at this station. Indeed, the town, the community, the people, and the station share an incredible historical value for New Jersey and the nation’s East Coast development.

The Borough Historian had negotiated with the US Government to secure the building, and both borough residents, and those residing in neighboring communities were thrilled when the station was acquired. Ownership of the building meant that the borough could honor its lifesaving and maritime heritage in the most suitable building in the town, a maritime landmark, plus, serve as a community center for organizations to congregate.

After the transfer of the building, an ad hoc group was established to explore uses, funding, and preservation options. By 2004, plans were presented to Mayor and Council for the re-use of the station and it was officially announced that a nonprofit group would be organized to spearhead the plan while simultaneously fundraising for the project. This group, the Squan Beach Life Saving Station Preservation Committee, Inc., is now an established 501c3 corporation.

When the borough gained ownership, the condition of the building was already in need of serious attention primarily because of the disrepair and lack of maintenance when the Coast Guard ended its activity in 1996. Also, damage from several storms, flooding, and benign neglect helped degrade the station’s condition. Ruptured pipes, water damage, inadequate electrical service, plumbing fixtures and pipes, warping, mold, and asbestos have plagued and hampered efforts to restore the site while maintaining the historic character and nature of the building.

In 2002 the Borough bonded $300,000 to cover all of the costs for clean-up and rehabilitation. However, preliminary estimates suggested major funding was needed and that a professional historical management team approach was warranted for the success of this rehabilitation. The town and the nonprofit group partnered to apply for a Historic Site Management Grant and was awarded funds to hire architects/preservationists through the New Jersey Historic Trust.

The town also applied for matching county grants; one for cultural development of the station, and one to provide ADA accessibility. Both were successful. The Preservation Committee has been successful recruiting membership to support the project as well as receiving funds from corporate and private donors. All of the non state-funded financial support together provides the matching funds requested for this application. Even so, continued fundraising will be needed, and is planned, to complete the rehabilitation and maintain the station.

Preservation will start this fall with the asbestos abatement. Thereafter, bids for construction work will be solicted later this year, or early next year, and the major work is anticipated to begin in earnest spring 2007. The goals of this project are to provide: an educational maritime museum so that visitors can learn and enjoy; a place for local organizations to convene; a meeting place for local artists, authors and discussion groups; for the Coast Guard Auxiliary to conduct boat safety instruction; and office space for our borough historian and local Emergency Management Response Coordinator; all of these are in reach of becoming reality.

Board of Trustees:

Mary Ware, President Dan Lieb Jack Witemeyer
John P. Tischio, Vice President Toni McChesney Gordon Twaddell
Lisa Trench, Treasurer    

 

 

201 East Main Street • Manasquan, New Jersey 08736
732-223-0544

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