• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

Special Memorial Day 2012 Commemorative at the Historic Coast Guard Cemetery and Lifesaving Station

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Date: May 21, 2012
Contact: Kim Hawkins, 415-464-5130

G Ranch Life Saving Service Cemetery Memorial Day © Elaine Straub

As part of the National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day, Point Reyes National Seashore will be honoring America's fallen at 2 pm on Monday, May 28, 2012, at the historic graveyard located at G Ranch. Join the National Park Service and the United States Coast Guard for services at the Historic Life-Saving Cemetery. The small cemetery contains the graves of four surfmen who died serving their country as part of the lifesaving crew that operated on the Point Reyes Headlands. Over the course of 78 years, crews participated in an estimated 100 rescues in treacherous Pacific Ocean waters.

As part of Memorial Day celebrations the Historic Life Saving Service Boathouse will be open at 4 pm. Refreshments will be served. Across the country, participants are asked at 3 pm to pause and remember America's fallen wherever you are.

A picket fence enclosure under US Coast Guard ownership contains the marked graves of four surfmen who died while on duty at the United States Life-Saving Station at Point Reyes Beach in the early 1890s. The Life-Saving Station crews launched lifeboats into the heavy surf at the Point Reyes beach and conducted numerous rescues of stranded vessels around the treacherous Point Reyes Headlands.

The cemetery is located on a beautiful knoll, overlooking Drakes Estero, just off Sir Francis Drake near the US Coast Guard facility in the northern district of Point Reyes. A small parking area has been constructed on the US Coast Guard access road however carpooling is strongly suggested. A reception will follow at the Life Saving Station afterward for those who wish to learn more about the life saving service. The Life Saving Station is located off Sir Francis Drake at the Chimney Rock turn off.

A new Lifeboat Station was constructed in 1927 at a more protected location near Chimney Rock. The Station was rehabilitated by the National Park Service and now serves as an educational facility. The Lifeboat Station has received National Historic Landmark status because it is the last remaining station with an operating railway system for launching vessels on the Pacific Ocean.

The site also contains the headstones and remains of Henry Claussen, his wife, and son and daughter-in-law in one fenced area. Henry Claussen, a Scandinavian immigrant dairyman, provided oversight for the historic Alphabet Ranches established in the late 1800s on the Point Reyes Peninsula. Mr. Claussen lived at the G Ranch, one of the first ranches to be completed in 1872.

The project is part of the National Park Service's on-going program to preserve the cultural resources of Point Reyes National Seashore. To visit the gravesite, contact the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 415-464-5100 x2 x5.

-NPS-

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