Throwback Thursday – One Smart Move

“Towing C.G. Station, March 1955” Carleton Kelsey Collection, Montauk Library Archives

Given the price of land today, a waterfront building is more likely to be replaced with something grander than moved from one spot to another. Back in the day, though, homes and even restaurants (like Trail’s End) in the old fishing village on Fort Pond Bay were moved to other places like Shepherd’s Neck and Edgemere or Tuthill Road, most notably when the Navy took over the railroad property on the bay during World War II. Some buildings, even very modest fishermen’s shacks, were floated across the bay; during the war, the town highway department helped displaced homeowners by putting their residences on skids and moving them by land.

But a Coast Guard station?

In 1955, Carl Darenberg Sr., who at the time was working as a dock builder, was hired to move the U.S. Coast Guard station at Napeague to its present spot at Star Island in Montauk Harbor. The building had already been overwintering on the beach on Fort Pond Bay, and it was, to say the least, a big deal to get it off the beach and into the water.

When that was finally achieved, a stiff wind kicked up just as the movers were about to tow the three-story station through the inlet and into Montauk Harbor. The structure threatened to overtake the tow boat, so all involved made the wise decision to take a break and have a cup of coffee.

Open the doors and windows, someone suggested. “My God, the building slowed down,” Mr. Darenberg remembered .

And there – at Star Island — she sits today. This photo comes from the invaluable collection of the late Carleton Kelsey, who was an East Hampton Town historian and Amagansett librarian.

Click here to view Carleton Kelsey’s collection online on New York Heritage Digital Collections. 

#Carleton Kelsey #Montauk Library Archives #ttb #Throwback Thursday #Carl Darenberg Sr. #U.S. Coast Guard

This post originally ran on February 24, 2022.

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