Historic USCG Outbuilding
This building features the history of the United States Life Saving Service (USLSS) as well as our knot tying exhibit. The USLSS was founded as an informal group of volunteer rescue crews in 1848, later expanding into the Great Lakes in the 1870s. They performed rescues, often launching their boats straight from the beach, from April through December. In 1915, the USLSS was merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the United States Coast Guard (USCG), which still operates today.
The building itself was part of South Haven’s USLSS Station that was commissioned in 1886. South Haven Station was decommissioned in 1973, the buildings remained standing until 1989, when a fire burned the entire station, except for this outbuilding. In the early 1980s, the Museum acquired the building and moved it to our campus, where it has since undergone several renovations, as recently as 2019, in an effort to preserve this historic building.
All of the knots on display in this exhibit were used by rescue crews and sailors. Many of the incredibly intricate and decorative knots were created as ways to pass the time between rescue calls. In addition to the knots on display, we have several stations where you can try your hand at some of these knots.