A beach party was held last Friday, June 24, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Leuty Lifeboat Station. Photo by Erin Horrocks-Pope.
By ERIN HORROCKS-POPE
As Beachers, we take pride in the physical and scenic community in which we live; filled with iconic landmarks, diverse architecture and beautiful natural spaces – but more than anything else, our community is what we create here through our neighbors, friends and family.
On the night of Friday June 24, our community gathered on the beach to celebrate the legacy of one of our most treasured landmarks, Leuty Lifeboat Station.
Live performances from collaborating local bands, Sons of Beaches and Sugar Rush, set the mood for an evening of dancing, laughter and stories of our timeless beauty that is Leuty.
Displayed photographs of the station taken by renowned local photographer Erwin Buck, contrasted with historical images and documents by our local historian Gene Domagala, offered further insight into what Leuty means to our community.
Those in attendance included Beaches-East York councilor Brad Bradford, former Beach Metro Community News editor Carole Stimmell, Community Center 55 executive director Debbie Visconti and lifeguards from all decades.
“Tonight’s celebration is also a reunion,” Visconti said, referring not only to the generations of rescuers in attendance, but to all the people who came to connect, share and learn about Leuty’s history. .
“People needed a chance to come out and be together,” she continued. “So being able to bring everyone together to honor the station makes me so happy.”
While the 100 year anniversary was technically two years ago, celebrations were postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions at the time, although a small ceremony was held in 2020 to erect a historic plaque commemorating the construction of the station in 1920.
As a lifelong Beacher, I have countless memories of growing up obsessed with this gem in the sand. But while attending the 100th birthday of our beloved Leuty. I learned that these memories are not just mine.
People of all ages attended tonight’s event, all with their own stories and memories that unfolded around the lifeguard station, now over a century old. From stories of the pranks rescuers have played on each other over generations, to recognizing the over 6,000 lives that have been saved over the years, tonight’s event celebrated all that Leuty is, was and represents.
“Leuty is the beaches,” Bradford said. “Everyone has their own special memories of being here and that’s really what makes this celebration historic.”