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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

U.S. COAST GUARD STATION

U.S. COAST GUARD STATION

The U.S. COAST GUARD STATION was located on the West Pier at the mouth of the CUYAHOGA RIVER for exactly a century, from 1876-1976. The first government appropriation providing life-saving boats on the Great Lakes was made in 1854, but the U.S. Life-Saving Service was not established until 1876. The Life-Saving Service became the U.S. COAST GUARD in 1915. Its services included rescuing the shipwrecked and those endangered by storm and flood, carrying food and supplies to isolated communities, and eliminating navigation hazards. The Cleveland Life-Saving Station began operation on 29 Sept. 1876. The boat station at the West Pier occupied a series of wooden structures until 1940, when a new modernistic station was erected. The concrete structure consists of a 60' observation tower (not a light), the operations building and boathouse, and a garage. It is a rare utilitarian building conceived and executed as a work of art; the design is derived from the streamlined shapes of a ship. The architect was J. MILTON DYER, designer of the classical CLEVELAND CITY HALL 30 years earlier. The station served until 1976, when the building was occupied by the water quality-control laboratories of the City of Cleveland Div. of Water. The building was then put up for public auction in 1984. The Coast Guard continued to operate a boat station at the foot of E. 9th St.