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Klipsan Beach

A life-saving station operated there for some years by the Coast Guard. This Indian name, meaning sunset was chosen by Capt. Theodore Conic, of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The earliest buildings constituting the Klipsan Beach Life Station were constructed in 1891 with the last structure, the radio tower, erected in 1931. At different times, the station served both the Coast Guard and the Navy until, in 1947, the government moved out. The National Register-listed site is now in private ownership and, despite some exterior alterations to various buildings, remains much as it did during its time of service.

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Klipsan Beach Life Saving Station

The former Klipsan Beach Life Saving Station is a significant reminder of late Nineteenth Century mariner attempts to battle the vagaries of Northwest Coast weather. For 58 years this installation stood watch over the transportation lanes near the Peninsula shore. In high velocity gales, dense fog and pounding surf, life saving crews from Klipsan recovered the drowning victims of many wrecks. It was no easy task and it took surfmen with strength and dedication. The motto of the service was Semper Paratus (Always Prepared) and in the name of humanity they were. The low pay, non-existant retirement benefits and perilous working conditions attest to it. The Klipsan Beach Life Saving Station, first known as the Ilwaco Beach station, was established in 1889. It was one of nineteen life saving stations which protected the West Coast from Nome, Alaska, to the Golden Gate. For nearly sixty years the Klipsan Beach station provided salvage help and navigational assistance to mariners. Lighthouses, beacons, and similar navigational aids have been used through all the ages of man as principal instruments to assist mariners in finding their way. Organized physical assistance for shipwrecked mariners didn’t begin in our nation until 1785. The first associations took the form of volunteer lifesaving services. The Federal Government made no attempts to fund these associations until New Jersey Congressman William A. Newell (Washington Territorial Governor 1880-84) made an appeal to the House of Representatives in 1848. Congress provided funding that year but it was decades before it appropriated sufficient funds to build and operate an adequate number of stations on all coasts.