Maritime History Gets 'New' Setting; St. Simons Museum Will Be Exhibiting in the Historic U.S. Coast Guard Station

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Byline: TERRY DICKSON

ST. SIMONS ISLAND -- The U.S. Coast Guard station on St. Simons Island, a 70-year-old sentinel of the tides, will reopen Saturday as a window to the area's maritime and natural history.

The new Maritime Center at the Historic Coast Guard Station on East Beach will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1:30 to 5 p.m. Sundays, said Pat Morris, executive director of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society.

Vacated by the Coast Guard years ago, the old Coast Guard station enters its second round of service after a $500,000 restoration funded by a federal grant and $500,000 spent on museum displays. Financing for the museum displays was partly funded in 2003 by tours of the Coastal Living Idea House built at Coast Cottages near the station.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Coast Guard station will provide an opportunity to learn about the life of a "Coastie'' through the letters and field journal entries of Seaman 1st Class Oliver "Ollie" Bennett, a fictitious composite of Coast Guardsmen who served at the station. A Nebraska native, Bennett got his first sight of an ocean when he arrived on St. …