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Indian River Life Saving Station

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1874, with additions. 1997–1998 restored, Frens and Frens, with Bernardon Haber Holloway. DE 1, north of Indian River Inlet

Supposedly America's oldest coastal rescue station still on its original site, it was erected on the most inaccessible stretch of the Delaware shore just three years after the U.S. Life Saving Service was established. Original plans survive. Cladding was board-and-batten, with wide eaves above; there were frequent changes and additions over the years. In 1915, it became a Coast Guard Station. Construction of the road in 1934 linked it to the larger world, and summer tourists came by to admire the spit-and-polish conditions maintained by the crew, who were ready at any time to row into the surf to rescue shipwrecked sailors. The devastating storm of 1962 dumped four feet of sand inside. The place was subsequently abandoned and used for storage. A nonprofit group was founded in 1996 to save the building and return it to its appearance of 1905. The surroundings are part of Delaware Seashore State Park.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Indian River Life Saving Station", [Millsboro, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 280-281.

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