The Mathews County Historical Society celebrated good news about New Point Comfort Lighthouse last Thursday.
During a reception at Mathews Memorial Library emceed by Historical Society president Doug Wilton, the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s Fredericksburg District representative Mary Lee Carter announced to a group of about 50 people that the county would receive a grant for $424,000 to help stabilize and restore the historic lighthouse.
In addition, Mathews County Administrator Steve Whiteway introduced Wilbur Burroughs and his son, Bill, who announced that they had established in the name of their ancestor, Elzy Burroughs, the lighthouse’s builder and first keeper, a $10,000 fund with the Mathews Community Foundation for the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the lighthouse.
Carter said that the lighthouse is important all over America and that, as the 10th oldest lighthouse in the U.S, it needs to be funded. In addition, she said that Virginia is really beginning to know Mathews County. "You are important, and your county is beautiful," she said.
Kathleen Kilpatrick, director of Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources, said it was her job to help localities try to achieve their goals. "They’re your resources," she said, "and you’re the primary movers and shakers."
Pam Schenian, acting director of the Tidewater Regional Preservation Office, told the group that her department had more money available for grants than it received applications for last year, and Jamie Brown-Porter, assistant administrator at the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Fredericksburg District, said it’s important that funding goes to the projects that need it.
Del. Harvey B. Morgan (R-Middlesex) praised Carter and Kilpatrick for their work and quipped that, although the lighthouse is the 10th oldest, "we know it’s the most important."
Other distinguished guests were Marcie Parker, resident engineer for VDOT’s Fredericksburg District; and Mathews supervisors Janine Burns, O.J. Cole and Neena Putt.