Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/194

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182
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

THE UNITED STATES LIFE-SAVING SERVICE.
EXTRACT FROM AN ARTICLE IN APPLETONS' "ANNUAL CYCLOPÆDIA" FOR 1878.
By W. D. O'CONNOR,
ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT UNITED STATES LIFE-SAVING SERVICE.

THE scheme of this service places the long chain of complete life-saving stations on the Atlantic beaches within an average distance of five miles of each other, the object being to maintain the intercommunication of patrol, and effect the speedy assembling of several crews in case of the occurrence of a wreck requiring multiplied efforts. The complete life-saving stations are generally situated just behind the beach, among the low sand-hills common to such localities. They are typically two-story houses, mainly built of tongued and grooved pine, with gable roofs, covered with cypress or cedar shingles, and strong shutters to the windows, and are securely bolted to a foundation of cedar or locust posts, sunk in trenches four feet deep. Their architecture is of the pointed order, somewhat in the chalet style, with heavy projecting eaves and a small open observatory or lookout desk, on the peak of the roof, from which spires a flag-staff. The walls of the houses are painted drab, with darker color for the door and window trimmings, and the roofs dark red. Over the door is a tablet with the inscription "U. S. Life-saving Station." The appearance of

PSM V15 D194 US life saving station.jpg

Fig. 1. —  Life-saving Station.

the houses is tasty and picturesque. Their dimensions are from eighteen to twenty feet wide by forty feet long; the later houses are twenty by forty-five. Below they contain two rooms. One of these is the boat-room, about ten feet high, occupying over two thirds of the ground-floor space, or measuring about sixteen by thirty feet, and opening by a broad double-leaf door into the weather. In this are stored the boats, life-car, wreck-gun, and most of the apparatus. The other room, about eight feet high, and measuring about twelve by sixteen feet, is the general living-room of the crew. The second story contains three rooms, one for the storage of the lighter apparatus, one for the sleeping-room of the keeper, and one for that of the men; both of these furnished with cot-beds in sufficient number for the accommodation also of the occasional guests sent to the stations by shipwreck. At stations where