OCEAN CITY — The city debuted the newly restored U.S. Life Saving Station 30 during First Night ceremonies Sunday. The building now serves as a museum, giving visitors a glimpse into what rescue tactics were like off the coast before the formation of the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The station, located at the intersection of Fourth Street and Atlantic Avenue, operated in Ocean City from 1885 to 1915 as part of the U.S. Life Saving Service, the predecessor to the Coast Guard.

The effort to acquire and restore the building took years, according to John Loeper, one of the people who helped restore it. The life-saving station features several artifacts that recreate the life and work of federal employees who worked there and and went out to sea to help people stranded by shipwrecks.

"I didn't have gray hair when we started this project. It's been a long haul," Loeper joked. "But it's something now that the city can be proud of."

There were once 42 lifesaving stations up and down the coast of New Jersey. But bad weather, coupled with abandonment of the buildings, has whittled that number down to nine or 10, he said. 

One of the remaining stations is next to the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse in North Wildwood. 

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