OCEAN CITY, N.J. – First Night attendees will get the first opportunity to visit the newly restored U.S. Life Saving Station 30 at the intersection of Fourth Street and Atlantic Avenue. The station operated in Ocean City from 1885 to 1915 as part of the U.S. Life Saving Service, a precursor to the modern Coast Guard.
A years-long effort to acquire and restore the historic building is nearly complete, and anybody with a First Night admission button will be invited to stop by and tour the station between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Dec. 31.
Life saving stations up and down the U.S. coast were positioned not only to rescue ships and sailors in distress but to serve as places of shelter and medical clinics on shorelines that were often sparsely inhabited and remote. They were staffed with men whose motto was, “You have to go out, but you don't have to come back.” The Ocean City station will become a living history museum that will give visitors a glimpse of what life was like there in 1905.
For First Night on Sunday, Dec. 31, guides will be on hand to answer questions about the station, and artifacts will show how it operated. The station will be decorated with a traditional Christmas tree.
The new attraction is just part of the popular non-alcoholic New Year’s Eve celebration that features more than 75 entertainment programs at 19 different locations in Ocean City. A fireworks display rings in the New Year at midnight. A complete schedule of events is available at firstnightocnj.com.
Admission buttons ($20) are good for all events. They are available online at firstnightocnj.com, by phone at 1-800-BEACH-NJ, or in person at the Welcome Center on the Route 52 causeway (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily), at Stainton’s Square (810 Asbury Avenue) and at City Hall (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily).