U.S. Coast Guard Station Eulogized by Former Hampton Resident

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1899 - 1973

By John Leonard "Sam" Hayden
Class of 1942,
Hampton Academy & High School

17 High Street, Littleton, NH

[From Hampton Union June 1973]

Click here for a larger photo
Gun Drill, U.S. Life Saving Station, Hampton Beach, N.H.

United States Coast Guard Station

[1899 - 1973]

A shuttered, red-topped building stands,
Lonely, forgotten, by North Beach Sands.
Full seventy years she's had that place,
Being razed I'm told, for parking space.

Like fish houses, now gone, save two,
"For parking space, for me and you?"
The "Shore Harpies" have won again,
And not one soul, there to defend.

All forgot, what she used to be,
That red-topped building by the sea.
Alive, she was, and vital too,
It was then she housed an expert crew.

A crew ever ready, both day and night,
To launch in that surf, was more than a fight.
Ash oars they stroked at the cos'ns call,
One fault, they'd founder, boat and all.

When ships were grounded and breaking apart,
Gear was hauled nearby, by four-wheeled cart.
Brass cannon set, and line affixed,
They'd fire o'er the yardarm sticks.

The traveller, then hauled by the fated crew,
Was tied to the mast, by its clew.
The breeches-buoy ride from yardarm to shore,
Took lives out of danger, they'd fear no more.

A swimmer fighting current, got a cramp.
The two-man dory which set on the ramp
Was launched with determined know how and speed
And again the crew performed its deed.

"Restore her," I said, "Like she used to be,
With life-boats, brass cannon, for all to see.
We've leveled too much, historic past.
Don't tear her down, she is the last.

What better landmark to grace our shore.
A tribute to those who were men and more.
But no one heard, or gave a damn.
Except one, by some, called "Sam."

Well, so long old friend, I knew you well.
Long-glass in tower, your boats on the swell.
Now, a black-topped, metered, jungle shall stand
In your place, on North Beach Sand.

[Footnote: The Hampton Beach Coast Guard (Life Saving) Station was built ca. 1897-98. First opened on March 1, 1899. (See Hampton Union, August 4, 1900.) The Station was closed down in the mid-1960's. On June 1, 1973, the building was razed via a controlled burn by the Hampton Fire Department. In 1975, the Town Meeting voted to name the site "Bicentennial Park"].
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