Maritime History

Historic Squan Beach Life-Saving Station #9

A Five Part Series

This is a five part series describing the history of the Manasquan community. The purpose of the series is to acquaint our residents and visitors with the rich maritime heritage and historical relationship between Manasquan and the Squan Beach Life Saving Station. The information presented has been obtained from the Squan Beach Life Saving Station Preservation Plan developed by the town’s historic preservation firm HJGA Consulting, Montclair, New Jersey. This firm, on behalf of the Borough of Manasquan, performed the Nomination of the station to the National and State Register of Historic Places June 2007. Individuals who wish to donate to the preservation of the Station may send their tax deductible contributions to the Squan Beach Life Saving Station Preservation Committee (SBLSPC), P.O. Box 45, Manasquan, NJ 08736.

Part I


The history of the Borough of Manasquan is not meant to be all-inclusive, but is an observation of the historical trends of the region and how Manasquan developed based on the surrounding influences. This information will show that the Squan Beach Life-Saving Station, located at Ocean and Second Avenues in Manasquan, New Jersey, was a product of its time and place. In addition to its architectural significance, the Station is historically significant for its association with the U. S. Life-Saving Service and as a representation of Manasquan’s marine history.

The land including the present Borough of Manasquan was first settled by the Unamis branch of the Lenni Lenapi Indians, who lived along the Manasquan River and Osborne Island, as they are currently known. The Native Americans claimed the exclusive right to fish and hunt along the tributaries of the River. These first settlers left a lasting impression on Manasquan, as it is from the Lenni Lenapi that the Borough derives its name. The Native American term Man-A-Squaw-Han means either “an island with enclosure for squaws” or “stream of the Island of squaws.” During the fishing and hunting seasons, the men left their wives and families here for safety, thus the name. The last Native Americans to claim the land were called Tom Store and Andrew Wooley by the European settlers, and they declared it as the land “‘from the mouth of Squan River to the mouth of the Shrewsbury River, to the streams of each to their heads and across from one head to another.'”

It was in 1609 that the area first became known to European settlers, when Hendryck Hudson sailed along the shore and noted in his Log-Book that it was “‘a very good land to fall in with, and a pleasant land to see’.” He went on to claim land in what are now the states of New Jersey and New York. The first European settlers of present Monmouth County were five families, including those of John Browne and Richard Stout, who came and settled the area in the spring or summer of 1664. On April 8th of the next year, Richard Nicholls, Esq., named Governor of all the Duke of York’s territories in America, signed a grant known as the Monmouth Patent. The grant, which was signed in the presence of both Native American and European settlers as well as the Governor, included parts of what are currently Middlesex and Ocean Counties and most of what is now Monmouth County.

Manasquan, specifically, formed about 1685, when Richard N. Hartshorne , with several others, purchased 2500 acres of land on the coast from the Lenni Lenapi in the area of Rack Pond south to the head of Barnegat Bay. The men took the land under the name of the Manasquan Beach Company. In 1693, Manasquan was part of the extensive tract of land incorporated as Shrewsbury Township. The villages settled within Shrewsbury were later created as independent municipalities including Howell Township which when originally incorporated in 1801 included Manasquan. The southern portion of Howell, including Manasquan, broke away to become Wall Township in 1851.

Part II


Further settlement of the area was a gradual process. By the time of the American Revolution, Manasquan Inlet had become a refuge for boats and was beginning to develop into a small sea port. Some small trades and occupations as well as the charcoal industry were also beginning to grow within Monmouth County.
As late as 1815, there was no official village of Manasquan, and the area remained a mostly wooded site with the exception of a few scattered buildings. One of the first buildings constructed in the area was an Inn owned and kept by Peter Bailey, built in 1808. Around 1815, several other buildings appeared, including a tavern-house, a store, and the houses of Benjamin Pearce, William McKnight and David Curtis. In 1818, by Act of Congress, a weekly mail route was established from Freehold to Tom’s River by way of “Old Squan Long Bridge;” however, a post office was not established in Manasquan until 1854. This mail route helped spur further activity and development in the area, and by 1825 the small settlement was given the name “Squan Village.” By mid-century, there were several additional stores, two Meeting Houses, and a church.

Throughout this period, Manasquan had also been active in the region’s maritime economy. Since early settlement, ship fleets had traveled the seas between New York and the southern ports, and as a coastal town, Manasquan has had a long involvement in such maritime activities. In the 1800s, there were four boat-building establishments on the Manasquan River. Vessels constructed in Squan were typically sloops or two-masted schooners whose hull frames were constructed from local white oak. Manasquan was also a busy site for schooners, which carried cargo to and from the New York and northern New Jersey ports, including pine, wheat, potatoes and other produce.

Since 1770, hundreds of these traveling vessels, from smaller sloops to large ships, have been wrecked at Squan Beach. This area of the New Jersey shore has often been called “the Graveyard of the Sea” for this very reason. This has often been attributed to Manasquan’s “lee shore.” Very early records of shipwrecks are rare, but one which was recorded is that of the Live Oak, which had been traveling from Spain to New York in 1769 with a crew of 18 and cargo of sugar and mahogany. The sloop “ran aground” at Squan Beach on September 20th and only four crew members survived, with all of the cargo lost. The years following the War of 1812 saw a national increase in maritime commerce and trade, and consequently, the number of shipwrecks along New Jersey beaches, including Squan, increased. In the first half of the 19th century there was an average of fifteen wrecks per year between Sandy Hook and Squan Beach.

Among these wrecks were the nine vessels lost off the New Jersey shore on February 14, 1846, during a violent nor’easter which later became known as the Great Storm of 1846. Among the lost ships that night was the John Minturn, a packet ship bound for New York. The vessel struck a sand bar off Squan Beach (in what is now Mantoloking), and thirty-nine out of fifty-one people on board died including the captain and his family. The wreck of the John Minturn is considered one of the most significant and tragic in area history. As a result, the events of that night were directly responsible for the formation of more organized life-saving services. The deaths on the John Minturn led to an investigation by a state commission, and finally led to the formation of the U. S. Life-Saving Service in 1848. (See U. S. Life-Saving Service Part IV below.)

Part III


Towards the end of the 19th century, the state of New Jersey began financing turnpike construction. By 1857, Monmouth County had established turnpikes from Red Bank to Shrewsbury and from Shrewsbury to Tinton Falls and Colts Neck. The expansion of regular stage coach lines throughout the area encouraged further development, such as taverns and inns to serve as stopping points along the routes. In Manasquan, Elias R. Height established such a stage coach service between the boat terminal at Red Bank and Manasquan in 1855. He also operated a line of stage coaches from Jay Street in New York to Squan Village and Point Pleasant.

Manasquan was like many small New Jersey shore towns which became greatly affected by the expansion of railroad lines in the 1870s. The railroad created a tourist industry for beach towns, supplemented the local maritime economies, and helped to create new resorts that catered to the newly emerging middle-class. The development of Manasquan truly started to progress with the establishment of the railroad in Squan Village in 1872. Seven trains stopped each way daily; Manasquan was one of the few New Jersey coastal towns linked to the three most populous urban centers- New York City, Trenton, and Philadelphia. As a result, by 1887 Manasquan was the largest village in Wall Township with a population of 900 residents. It is said that the railroad contributed the most to the development of Manasquan, and that “‘to them may be attributed the springing up of palatial hotels, boarding houses and villas and all the improvements that have grown with them.'”

As early as 1877 it was reported that the residents of Squan “‘have for some time been discussing the propriety of changing the name of this place and restoring the original name, of which Squan is a contraction’.” It was believed that the term Squan was “distasteful” and a new name should be determined that better reflected the prosperity of the area including its fine business establishments, churches and homes. With the recent growth of the village, many residents also desired not only a name change to “Manasquan,” but official incorporation as a Borough. In December 1887, an election was held that decided the official incorporation of the Borough of Manasquan; Edward S. Van Leer was elected as the first mayor.

By the turn of the century, summer visitors and tourists had become an important part of the life of Manasquan. These visitors stayed at hotels and rooming houses in town and in nearby Brielle. About the same time, several fishermen in the area began building bungalows at the back of the sand dunes for their families. A 1974 article of the Asbury Park Press, titled “Manasquan’s Beach Colony is Still Going Strong,” asserts that Obadiah Herbert, a Marlboro farmer, was the first to build a shack on the dunes in the early 1890s. The article states that he built his home, located 25 yards north of the Manasquan River Inlet, from lumber salvaged from a shipwreck. Soon, other families followed, until during the summer months, “there were 400 or more of all shapes and sizes crowded onto the beach.” As many of these families began to permanently settle in, it became necessary to build roads, and to provide better water and sewer facilities and services. These improvements further encouraged the town in its gradual growth.

The rise of automobile transportation further changed the way tourists visited seaside towns. The construction of large roads, like the New Jersey Turnpike, and later, the Garden State Parkway (which stretched from Montvale to Cape May), were of great importance to the shore region. The trend of taking shorter day trips, which had begun with the railroads, became more popular. Middle-class tourists had even greater and easier access to the shore, and towns better catered to visitors’ needs. Small towns like Manasquan felt the influence of automobiles not only on areas such as tourism, but also on long-standing community traditions. Since the 1800s, farmers from surrounding areas came to Squan Beach on the second Saturday of every August in order to enjoy a day at the sea. This day was known as “Big Sea Day,” and the people enjoyed food, drinking, music and dancing. This tradition was carried on by great numbers of visitors until the time of the automobile. While celebration of the day continued as a community tradition, part of its significance was lost. At that point, the beaches became more easily accessible to visitors on a regular basis, making the reservation of a special holiday unnecessary.

Today, Manasquan has developed a business district with service and retail establishments to accommodate its summer and year-round residents. Tourism remains an important part of the Borough with an increase in the population throughout the summer months; however, the number of permanent year-round residents continues to grow. As of 2000, according to the U.S. Census, Manasquan had a year-round population of 6,310, more than double its population in 1937.

Part IV


New Jersey has approximately 131 miles of coastline fronting the Atlantic Ocean, which has historically been one of the most heavily traveled seas for commerce and has provided access to the New York harbor since the beginning of European settlement. However, commercial maritime traffic to New York ports increased steadily after the American Revolution, and the Jersey Coastline became the scene of numerous shipwrecks from large ships to small sloops. The coastline, from Sandy Hook in the north (to enter New York Harbor, ships had to navigate the narrow, curving channel at the tip of Sandy Hook ) to the Cape May Peninsula in the south, presented several significant obstacles to marine vessels, including the shallow waters along the beaches of the barrier islands, the ever-changing sediment patterns above and below sea level, and the lee shore. As such, hundreds of traveling vessels have been wrecked, particularly at Squan Beach.

The creation of the U.S. Life-Saving Service in 1848 is largely attributed to the numerous shipwrecks along the New Jersey coastline in general and the wreck of the John Minturn, specifically, in 1846. These wrecks often led to the loss of both life and property. Up until 1848, life-saving operations had been primarily a volunteer operation undertaken by benevolent associations that relied upon donations. The first of its kind in the United States was the Massachusetts Humane Society, which was founded in 1785. The Atlantic coastline from Maine to Florida was primarily deserted, with most permanent settlement occurring inland along smaller bodies of water; the idea of the Society was to provide small huts for use as houses of refuge for any sailor that might make it ashore of their own accord. The first hut was constructed in 1787 on Lovell’s Island near Boston. However, these huts were unattended and subject to vandalism, and did not contain life boats, making it nearly impossible for those lost at sea to be rescued. By 1807, the Society had constructed its first lifeboat station at Cohasset, Massachusetts; however, such stations were essentially manned by volunteer crews.

The involvement of the U.S. Government in life-saving operations was advocated by Congressman William A. Newell of New Jersey who had witnessed a shipwreck and recognized the nation’s lack of preparedness for such events. The initial allocation of $10,000 established eight stations between Sandy Hook and Little Egg Harbor which contained a metal surfboat, a lifecar, a mortar for firing lines, rockets, lanterns and other support equipment. The stations were under the supervision of the Revenue Marine Service, but were essentially unmanned and relied solely upon volunteers approved by the Revenue Service. The benefits of the life-saving station were soon evident. In January 1850 the New Jersey coast was devastated by a storm which wrecked several vessels including the Ayrshire along Squan Beach. In this instance, 201 people were saved by the volunteer crew utilizing the facilities of the new life-saving stations. In the same year, the Elizabeth was wrecked along the Long Island coast where there were no life-saving stations. Ten people were lost including a renowned author, Margaret Fuller. This tragedy, amongst others, brought about the construction of additional life-saving stations between 1849 and 1855. In 1854, Congress also authorized the employment of superintendents for Long Island and New Jersey stations as well as a salaried keeper for each station.

During the period of the Civil War, few improvements were made to the operation of the stations and the work of rescues continued primarily through the efforts of volunteers who were insufficiently trained, and who worked without guidance or regulations. Once again, it took a severe storm season in 1870-71 to spur Congress into action. $200,000 was appropriated to create a life-saving system which would employ crews of paid surfmen and construct new stations. As part of the creation of a regulated service, an assessment of the existing facilities was conducted; the report showed that “most of the stations were too remote from each other, and that many of the houses were much dilapidated, many being so far gone as to be worthless, and the remainder in need of extensive repairs and enlargement.” In addition, many of the stations did not have the proper equipment, and the keepers and volunteer crew were unfit to perform their duties. Consequently, the service was ready for reorganization.

In 1871, the Revenue Marine Service was reorganized and Sumner Increase Kimball was made head of both the life-saving stations and the revenue cutters. Kimball made significant changes including the firing of incompetent keepers and the hiring of qualified crews of surfmen, the preparation of written regulations, repair of stations, purchase of new equipment, and construction of larger stations at new and existing sites in order to make accommodations for live-in crews. In 1878, the United States Life-Saving Service was created through the Act to Organize the Life-Saving Service; it became an agency under the Treasury Department and Kimball became its head verses that of the Revenue Service. Thirteen districts were created covering the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, the Gulf Coast, and the Great Lakes; New Jersey was the Fifth District and consisted of 41 stations by 1914.

Stations were typically one of two types, either life-saving stations or houses of refuge. Houses of refuge were generally limited to Florida because mariners could usually reach the shore without aid. The houses of refuge provided supplies such as food, water, beds and shelter, and were manned year-round by a keeper and his family. The life-saving stations, however, were more prevalent and evolved from the initial small one and two-room buildings to house the equipment and keeper in the mid-19th century, to much larger facilities that provided accommodation for equipment, the keeper and his family, a crew, and a look-out in the late-19th century.

In addition to the life-saving stations, there were three other critical components to the life-saving service: the surfmen, the equipment, and the boats; all of which were housed in the life-saving stations. Along the Atlantic Coast, surfboats verses lifeboats were employed in rescue operations because they were easier to maneuver in the surf. They were easier to transport from the station to the sea as well as to navigate through the breakers. Surfboats were designed to be launched from the beach whereas lifeboats had to be either launched from a marine railway or were already moored in the water. The conditions along the Atlantic Coast made the use of lifeboats impossible.

Various types of equipment in addition to the surfboats were utilized to rescue passengers from wrecked ships. The use of the equipment with or without the surfboats depended upon the conditions at sea; in some instances the use of a surfboat was impossible. The use of the equipment evolved as technologies improved and there were two basic components of a rescue. The first was to transport a line from the shore to the wrecked ship using various types of mortars and rockets to throw a projectile and line which would then be attached to the ship. From that would be attached the second element, the carrying apparatus for transporting passengers to the shore. The most popular of the apparatus utilized were the Lyle gun due to its accuracy and the breeches buoy, a circular life-preserver.

According to an article written in The Manufacturer and Builder in 1877, a typical inventory at a station would be as follows:

“1st A wooden life-boat 27 feet long and 7 feet 3 _ inches wide…

2nd A surf boat, 25 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 2 feet 3 inches depth of hold. This boat is much lighter than the life-boat, but is also provided with air-cases at the ends and sides, propelled by six oars and one sail.

3rd A surf-boat wagon, intended to bring the boat in the shortest possible time along the coast to the point where it is needed. This wagon is usually drawn by

4th Two horses, which often form another charge of the keeper’s life-saving station.

5th A hand-cart, for the rapid transportation of person and property. The wheels are 4 feet apart and very broad, to prevent them from sinking in the sand, while the box car is 5 by 3 feet and 1 foot deep. It is propelled by hand by means of arms of shafts attached.

6th A rocket and mortar apparatus, intended to throw a line attached to the mortar over a wreck, and thus to establish communication when it is inaccessible otherwise. The line thrown is light, but is fastened to a cable on the shore, which then can be pulled on board, when along this cable the next contrivance is used to send the passengers ashore.

7th The life-car. This is a strong and light boat, which is pulled to and from the vessel by a rope, and is guided by a strong cable which passes through two rings, one attached to each end of the car. It has a deck and trap-door, which can be closed water-tight, so that a load of passengers may be pulled through the foaming waves without much if any danger of getting wet. No doubt that to this last valuable invention has been due the saving of hundreds of persons who otherwise would certainly have perished, being confined to an often inaccessible stranded vessel.”

After 1878, a life-saving station, depending on its location and the importance of the situation, typically housed the keeper and his family as well as a crew of six men (the wives and children of the crew were not provided housing and in some locations built small dwellings around the life-saving station). The keeper was a well-respected member of the maritime community and each of the surfmen chosen to serve were appointed only “after examination as to their capacity and satisfactory evidence of good moral character and sobriety.” The keepers were held accountable for the proper care of the station and the equipment, as well as for keeping excellent records of the conditions whether there was life-saving activity or not. In addition, the keeper was responsible for ensuring that the property found after a shipwreck was returned to the owner. It was the keeper who determined the type of rescue and the equipment to be utilized during a rescue operation.

There were both weekly and daily routines. The weekly routine was associated with the practice drills for the crew in operation of the beach apparatus and boats, for the practicing of signals, and for the practice in life-saving techniques. In addition, the apparatus and station had to be maintained and repaired regularly. The daily routine focused on a careful twenty-four hour watch of the coastline for vessels in distress. During the daytime hours, this was done from the look-out tower. During the evening and storms, patrols were made between each station along the beach. Many surfmen supplemented their income by undertaking other work such as fishing, hunting, whaling, logging or farming; however, the job of a surfman was very difficult and cost the lives of many. The legendary motto of the surfmen was “They had to go out, but they did not have to come in.” In 1877 the magazine, The Manufacturer and Builder, wrote that “One of the noblest institutions of which as a nation we have a right to be proud, is the United States Life-Saving Service.” In addition to the drowning of surfmen during rescue operations, many also suffered disease and death as a result of the work they did given the extreme climates, hard labor of a rescue and the enormous stress of the work.

Between 1848 and 1898 there were forty-one life-saving station operations located along the New Jersey Coastline between Sandy Hook and Cape May Peninsula. Each was located approximately three and a half miles apart. The first stations, constructed as part of the initial phase of the Life-Saving Service were located at Spermaceti Cove, Monmouth Beach, Deal, Spring Lake, Chadwick, Island Beach, Harvey Cedars and Bonds, all located in New Jersey. By 1849 an additional 16 stations has been added to the service in New York and New Jersey, six of which were in New Jersey extending the coverage to Cape May and shortening the distance between stations to ten miles.

By 1855, an additional 14 stations had been added in New Jersey including one at Squan Beach; each was located approximately half the distance between each of the existing stations. This made 28 the total number of stations located in New Jersey. It was not until 1872, after the official creation of the life-saving service, that the majority of stations, 38 of the 41 total, were constructed, with the last station being constructed in 1898 at Hampton Beach. Between 1849 and 1915, the Life-Saving Service had three homes at Squan Beach, each reflecting the changes in the capacity and capabilities of the service.

The Life-Saving Service remained a viable government organization until 1915 when the Service was combined with the Revenue Marine Service to create the United States Coast Guard. This change, initially, meant that the surfmen were incorporated into the Coast Guard which served both civil and military functions as required under the Treasury Department and were therefore afforded the same pay and benefits as those of the Revenue Marine Service. As such there was little change in the operation of the stations and the crews that manned them until the early 1930s when the Great Depression caused the initial closing of fifteen life-saving stations nationwide, ten of which were located in New England, New York and New Jersey. However, the lifesaving branch of the Coast Guard often felt they were treated unequally to others in the Service and in 1934 led a weak initiative to reestablish the Life-Saving Service. However, Commander Waesche, who took charge in 1936, began a period of reorganization and expansion in the Coast Guard that called for the closing of forty-one stations, most of which were located in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and on Lake Huron and Michigan. The reasons for the closings were specific:

Commercial sailing vessels, which had needed assistance most frequently, had almost disappeared from American coastal waters; improvements in methods of navigation and the widespread use of radio had reduced the number of crafts getting into difficulty; and the employment of power boats for rescue work had extended the range of operation from individual stations, as had the replacement of horses by tractors and trucks to haul surfboats and beach apparatus to the disaster scene.

In addition, many of the life-saving stations lacked adequate heating, lighting and sanitary systems which would require great expense to update. It was the policy at that time to retain the properties being closed just in case there became a need for their use. In 1939, when the Bureau of Lighthouses was consolidated with the Coast Guard, there was further reorganization. This essentially led to the final step in consolidating the life-saving branch within the rest of the Coast Guard Service.

Part V


The first Life-Saving Station constructed at Squan Beach in 1855 is called, simply, an “1855-type” station, and was one of 28 stations built in New York and New Jersey in that year. The station was an expanded version of the 1848-49 type stations. (See Appendix D, Spermaceti Cove HABS Documentation, and Photographs of 1855-type stations.) The 1848-49 type stations were one and one-half story frame buildings consisting of a single room to house the surfboats and other rescue equipment with a small loft space for storage. The exterior walls and roof were typically clad with wood shingles and were fitted with little fenestration other than a large door for the removal of the boat, a man-door and a few windows. The 1855-type stations exhibited finer detailing at the roof eaves and gables ends, were typically longer buildings and exhibited some of the detailing found on Carpenter Gothic stylized buildings, a popular style from 1840 to 1880. The distinguishing elements of Carpenter Gothic architecture found at the 1855-type stations include gables decorated with verge boards, cross bracing at the gable ends, stickwork under the eaves, and small roofs over window openings.

After the life-saving operations were expanded and reorganized under the Revenue Marine Service in 1871, the Service went about an extensive overhaul of the existing stations and service operations, and included an expansion in the number of stations in New Jersey. In 1872, the existing station at Squan Beach was replaced with a new station, commonly termed an 1871 Red House-type station. The expansion program included providing housing for the keeper and crew of six. As such, the stations were two times larger than the 1855-type stations. These new Red House type stations were simply constructed, clad with wood shingles at their walls and roof, and were often painted red. All of the stations built in this period were based on a set of standardized plans:

All these houses have been constructed under plans and specifications carefully prepared with a view to durability, and affording proper accommodation for the apparatus and the means of providing comfortable protection to the crews and relief to those who may be rescued from shipwreck. They are 42 feet long by 18 feet wide, and each contains a lower and an attic story. Each story is divided into two apartments. The boats, a wagon, and other heavy apparatus occupy the large apartment below, while the smaller one is a living room for the crew, provided with conveniences for cooking. Above, one room is for the small articles of apparatus, and the other is provided with several cot-beds and suitable bedding.

The stations constructed in 1871-72 were very simply adorned with little by the way of architectural detailing. However, as early as 1874, newer stations constructed exhibited more flair and ornament in their design, in the articulation of their roofs, and in the detailing at window and door openings. This trend continued throughout the late 19th century as the Service expanded west to cover the Great Lakes and the Pacific Coast. During this period, the Life-Saving Service was also assigned architects to design typical stations from the Department of the Treasury. Plans developed were typically used in the design of several stations throughout the Service with a few one-of-a-kind stations. The size of the stations grew in size as the appropriations made for equipment and crew expanded.

Existing stations were also added to over time in order to respond to the changing needs of the Service. This is evident in the Red House station at Manasquan which shows a one-story addition with porch attached to the original two story one-bay station. (see photos in References & Photos section). The date of the alterations to the Manasquan Station is unknown; however, Albert B. Bibb, Service Architect beginning in 1885, carried out the alterations of several 1871 Red House Type Station between 1887 and 1888. These expansions were necessitated by additional apparatus and crewmembers as well as to provide the servicemen with more spacious accommodations.

In 1891, George Russell Tolman succeeded Albert Bibb as the Architect for the Service. During his tenure, 1892-1896, he developed several different station plans including what is commonly referred to as a Duluth-type station. Twenty-eight stations of this type of design were constructed between 1894 and 1908; the Service continued to use Tolman’s design years after he left. Each new station would be modified from the original design but all were essentially the same in layout and accommodation. The new station at Squan Beach was two stories in height with a two-bay wide boatroom, living quarters for the crew and living quarters for the keeper on the ground floor, and additional living quarters for the crew and storage on the second floor. The building was fitted with an observation tower that rises four stories and provides an optimal view of the ocean. Based on historic photographs and existing conditions, the building was clad entirely in wood shingles at the walls and roofs, the windows were typically multi-light casement, awning and hung sash, and the porches, located at the front and rear of the building, hinted at the location of the living quarters for the keeper and his crew. These stations were also fitted with the latest in rescue and communication equipment which aided in rescue operations and determined the need for services at Squan Beach and nearby stations. Two outbuildings were also constructed at this time. The first was a storage shed and privy which stood to the north of the Station. The second was a cistern located along the east façade where all of the downspouts were directed for rainwater storage. Based on a 1915 photograph, the earlier 1871-Red House station was also retained on site. Often when an earlier station was retained, it was utilized for storage and contained an extra surfboat. The date of the removal of this station is unknown.

The Squan Beach Life-Saving Station #9 continued to serve in life-saving operations under both the U.S. Life-Saving Service until 1915, and the U.S. Coast Guard Service until 1936 when a new Coast Guard Station was constructed at Point Pleasant Beach, replacing the Manasquan, Bay Head, Mantoloking, Chadwick Beach and Toms River Stations. The Squan Beach Station was subsequently used as an Electronics Shop for Coast Guard Group Sandy Hook until 1996. The Station remained vacant until 2000 when the Borough of Manasquan purchased the property from the Coast Guard.


1: Jubilee Committee of the Manasquan Chamber of Commerce. Manasquan, (Manasquan, New Jersey: 1962), No page numbers provided in publication.

2: Borough of Manasquan, A Brief History of Manasquan New Jersey; available from; Internet; accessed July 2006.

3: Manasquan.

4: Manasquan.

5: Hartshorne’s interests included the controversy concerning the Monmouth Patent. The controversy followed the signing of Nicholls’ patent, as there was some confusion when Governor Nicholls discovered that a transaction had already occurred concerning the land. A year previously, the Duke of York had conferred his land between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. When Sir George’s brother, Philip, learned about Nicholls’ grant, he immediately gave proclamation of himself as Governor, “‘under the new Lord Proprietors.'” He went on to announce that all land titles given by Nicholls were now void, and ordered the settlers to take out new patents under the proprietors, to whom they were to pay stipulated quit-rents. As a result, many years of dispute between the settlers and the proprietors followed. Source: Manasquan.

6: Manasquan.

7: Maxine N. Lurie and Marc Mappen, eds., Encyclopedia of New Jersey (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2004), 496.

8: CRCG, Phase I and II Cultural Resource Investigation,17.

9: Manasquan

10: Manasquan

11: The Centennial History Book Committee, Manasquan 1887-1987 (Manasquan, New Jersey: 1987) No page numbers provided publication.

12: Manasquan.

13: It is important to note that while today “Squan Beach” refers to the mile between the Manasquan Inlet and Sea Girt, in the 19th century this name designated the 24-mile stretch between Squan Village and Barnegat Inlet.

14: Lee Shore: A shore toward which the wind blows and toward which a ship is likely to be driven.

15: Manasquan 1887-1987.

16: Manasquan 1887-1987.

17: National Park Service, “Resorts & Recreation: An Historic Theme Study of the New Jersey Heritage Trail Route,” available from; Internet; accessed July 2006. Chapter 5.

18: National Park Service, “Resorts & Recreation,” Chapter 5.

19: Manasquan.

20: National Park Service, “Resorts & Recreation,” Chapter 2.

21: CRCG, Phase I and II Cultural Resource Investigation,18.

22: Manasquan.

23: Manasquan.

24: Manasquan.

25: Manasquan.

26: Manasquan 1887-1987.

27: National Park Service, “Resorts & Recreation,” Chapter 5.

28: National Park Service, “Resorts & Recreation,” Chapter 1.

29: Manasquan 1887-1987.

30: Manasquan.

31: Encyclopedia of New Jersey, 496.

32: Thomas J. Hoffman, Sandy Hook Lighthouse (A Pamphlet) (Fort Hancock, NJ: National Park Service, 2005).

33: Ralph Shanks, Wick York and Lisa Woo Shanks, eds., U.S. Life-Saving Service: Heroes, Rescues and Architecture of the Early Coast Guard (Costaño Books: Novato, CA, 1996), 3- 7.

34: William Augustus Newell (1817-1901) was born in Warren County, Ohio on September 5, 1817, and was a Physician. He represented the 2nd District of New Jersey in the House of Representatives from 1847 to 1851, and from 1865 to 1867; he was defeated in 1866. He was also Governor of New Jersey from 1857 to 1860, and Governor of Washington Territory from 1880 to 1884. He died in Allentown, New Jersey in 1901. (Source: The Political Graveyard; available from; Internet; accessed July 2006.)

35: The Revenue Marine Service, later called the Revenue Cutter Service, was essentially created in 1790 by President George Washington when he “authorized to have built and fitted out ‘so many boats or cutters, not exceeding ten, as may be necessary to be employed for the protection of the revenue.'”(p. 1) The service was part of the Treasury Department although there were nominal associations with the Navy, once established in 1799. The Revenue Cutter Service played various roles in war and peace times, but was primarily responsible for patrolling with regard to commercial shipping. (Source: Robert Erwin Johnson, Guardians of the Sea: History of the United States Coast Guard 1915 to Present (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1987) 1-5.)

36: “Margaret Fuller was one of the leading intellectuals of 19th-century America as well as a prominent member of Concord literary circles. As a writer, she is admired as a literary critic and for her sympathies for the plight of the Native Americans. Her writings covered such themes as transcendentalism, women’s rights, critical theory, gender roles, and political reform in Europe.” (Source: The Margaret Fuller Society, About the Margaret Fuller Society; available from; Internet; accessed July 2006).

37: Shanks, 7.

38: Robert Erwin Johnson, Guardians of the Sea: History of the United States Coast Guard, 1915 to the Present, (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1987) 5-6.

39: Johnson, 6-7.

40: Shanks, 7-8.

41: Shanks, 8.

42: Shanks 8-11.

43: Shanks, 13.

44: Shanks, 107-109.

45: The life-car was invented in 1838 by Joseph Francis and perfected in 1847. It was widely used until 1899 when the breeches buoy became more prevalently used due to its ease of handling, lighter weight and greater speed. Source: Shanks, 69.

46: “The United States Life-Saving Service.” The Manufacturer and Builder, Vol. IX., No. 6., June 1877, 122-123

47: Shanks, 40.

48: “The United States Life-Saving Service,” 122.

49: “The United States Life-Saving Service,” 122.

50: Shanks, 32.

51: Techniques included restoring breathing and dealing with hypothermia.

52: Shanks, 33.

53: “The United States Life-Saving Service,” 122.

54: Shanks, 31-39.

55: Johnson, 128.

56: Johnson, 150-152.

57: Johnson, 152.

58: Johnson, 152.

59: Johnson, 162-165.

60: The U.S. Life-Saving Service was not officially created as its own entity under the Department of Treasury until 1878; however, these changes made to the service in 1871 are considered, for the purposes of this report, the beginning of the Service given the extensive overhaul to the program and the changes that occurred not only at Squan Beach but the rest of the state. In addition, in 1878 the change was essentially in name only, the life-saving operations were already in full operation and under continual expansion.

61: Shanks, 215. (An excerpt from Robert F. Bennett. The Life Saving Service at Sandy Hook Station: 1854-1915. Washington D.C.: Public Affairs Division, Historical Monograph Program, U.S. Coast Guard, 1976.)

62: Shanks, 231.

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