Built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Coast Guard Station at East Beach was one of 45 authorized by President Roosevelt and one of just three still believed to be in existence. It’s one of the most architecturally interesting structures on the island. When the station was first opened in 1937, the beach front was located just a few feet from the front door. Sands have filled in the area over time and today this is the most popular beach on St. Simons. Though it originated as a life-saving station, the Coast Guard Station took on new importance with the coming of World War II. On 8 April 1942, the German submarine U-123 sank two merchant ships off St. Simons. In all, twenty-two sailors on the SS Oklahoma and the Esso Baton Rouge lost their lives. Surviving members were brought to the station to await further orders. Several of the dead were unidentified and buried in a plot in Brunswick’s Palmetto Cemetery beneath the marker “Unknown Seamen – 1942”. They have since been identified. After years of diminishing use, the station was decommissioned in 1995. Today, it’s operated by the Coastal Georgia Historical Society as the Maritime Center.
National Register of Historic Places