In 1801 the Second United States Congress authorized the construction of the New Point Comfort Lighthouse located in Mathews County in the Chesapeake Bay. The lighthouse began operating on January 17, 1805 and was damaged during the War of 1812. Unfortunately, the island and other built structures do not exist due to hurricanes and storms, but the lighthouse is still standing. In 2001 the New Point Comfort Lighthouse Preservation Task Force was formed to develop a plan to preserve and restore the national treasure.
Importance of Restoration + Preservation
The lighthouse has survived many environmental disasters and abandonment, but it stands as a reminder of the nation’s first efforts to establish commerce during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. The two-phased effort of restoration was developed and planned by the Preservation Task Force. Phase 1 was the construction of a new rock revetment to safeguard the lighthouse. Phase 2 was the design and construction to restore and preserve the lighthouse. The task force, engineers, and design team took immediate action to rescue this national treasure.
Contribution to the National Treasure
The design and construction team, which included Bowman, Foster & Associates, brought forward a complete restoration of the existing Lighthouse including the installation of scaffolding, sandstone repairs, masonry repairs, replacements of windows and doors, repairs to gallery catwalk, repairs to the lantern room, foundation repairs, waterproofing, installation of solar panels and other electrical work, security cameras and wireless features, remediation of asbestos and lead, and installation of site signage.
The lighthouse has symbolized safety and home for watermen and mariners on the Chesapeake Bay for over 200 years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future!