The U.S. COAST GUARD was created in 1915 when the federal government combined the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life Saving Service with the Steamboat Inspection Service into one organization. In 1939 the Lighthouse Service was added. The Lighthouse Service started operations in Cleveland in 1829, with the building of the first lighthouse on a bluff at Main and Water (W. 9th) near the mouth of the CUYAHOGA RIVER. In 1892, a new 63' high lighthouse was constructed on the recently constructed breakwall along the west side of the harbor entrance. The lantern, built in Paris in 1884, had a 6" lens that emitted a 32,000-candlepower beam which could be seen 16 mi. out on the lake. Its foghorn could be heard 20 mi. away. During the late 1930s, the lighthouse began transmitting radio signals to further aid navigators. The first vessel of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service to visit Cleveland was the Erie in 1833. The most prominent cutter to serve in the Cleveland area was the William P. Fessenden. Built in Cleveland by Kirby & Peck, the 180' sidewheel steamer served from 1865-85. The U.S. Life Saving Service started Cleveland operations in 1876. Part of the Lake Erie & Ontario District, the Cleveland station was located at the harbor entrance.
During Prohibition, the Coast Guard had the responsibility of preventing the smuggling of illicit liquor along the lake's shoreline. When the Coast Guard began icebreaking operations on the Great Lakes in the 1930s, the Ice Navigation Ctr. was located at Cleveland's 9th District Headquarters. In 1978 the Coast Guard turned their abandoned station on WHISKEY ISLAND over to the city. In the 1990s the Coast Guard's major responsibilities on the Great Lakes included law enforcement, environmental protection, and marine safety (see BOATING) and the Cleveland 9th District Office was at 1240 E. 9th St.