The history of US life-saving services is long and complex. In North Carolina, Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station is by far the oldest and longest-serving shore-based rescue responders. With a long history behind it, this station has been serving the community with distinction and dedication, which is why it has a special place in the hearts of the local community. Many couples prefer to hold their weddings and special events on the premises of this ancient and historic station. The building itself was built in 1874 and houses all the original equipment used for life-saving operations such as an original surfboat, buoy and cart, breeches, a rare life-car, and a drill pole.
The Grand Tour
Chicamacomico has two buildings that hold both its Life-Saving Service and Coast Guard departments. Besides those two buildings, there are other structures such as the stable, cook houses, a bunch of period rescue equipment, water towers, and a potable water beehive cistern. And because of its historical value, the site is being protected and preserved for the benefit of the community and future generations. The Chicamacomico Historical Association is the one entrusted with this task and they take their job seriously.
Mirlo Rescue Mission
Over the years the station has had its share of rescue missions that are still kept in the history books and local newspapers. But one mission stands out largely because of the number of people involved and the size of the mission itself. It took place in 1918 and is called Mirlo. Many consider it the largest maritime rescue mission in the area. Mirlo was a British tanker crossing the Atlantic during the last few months of WWI when it was hit by a German torpedo from a U-boat. As fire engulfed the tanker, it was up to the brave members of the Chicamacomico station to save its crew from certain death. Thanks to their training and expertise, the lives of 42 brave souls were saved on that day. You can find pictures of this daring mission in the station. Chicamacomico Historical Association is located at 23645 N.C. Hwy 12, P.O. Box 5, Rodanthe, NC 27968. Call them at 252-987-1552.
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