Preserve New Point Comfort Lighthouse
Today I read about Mr. Earl Soles and all of the folks who are campaigning to procure funds for the restoration of the New Point Comfort Lighthouse. It is so sad to ride out in the river and see a few barren pilings, covered with seagull white wash. You are told that at one time a beautiful cottage style lighthouse once stood there. Now only an automatic beacon reminds us of a once proud tradition.
I finished writing two volumes about lighthouses on the east coast from Nova Scotia to the swamps of Key Biscayne. Each one has its own intriguing story of folklore to tell. Mr. Olive of Coke told me stories about the Page’s Rock Lighthouse. I could visualize the walls of mahogany wood, and the panoramic view of the York River. He told of oyster boats tying up to the base to count their catch for the day. They then climbed up inside the cottage to enjoy an oyster stew with the keeper.
This is a poem that depicts the efforts of a few people to preserve a once proud and essential way of life. Once we allow a segment of our past to slip away it vanishes never to return. Do anything you can to promote the restoration of this precious historical landmark!
Preserve New Point Comfort Lighthouse
By Norman Snowden
His passion for history is what sparks Mr. Earl Soles,
It’s why he’s interested in New Point Comfort Light!
Many years Earl has labored hard for its restoration,
A half million dollar restoration fund is now in sight.
He retired as the director of historical area programs,
Over at the Colonial Williamsburg as we now know.
He was raised up right there in Mathews County, Va.,
Then settled and made a home here 15 years ago.
Mr. Soles and many friends worked for some funding,
With perseverance started all preparations underway,
At Bavon was constructed the walkway and overlook,
To view the New Point Comfort Light across the bay.
Interpretation signs were put up on the walkway rails,
That aroma of creek mud and salt marsh filled the air.
New Point Comfort Lighthouse was standing visible,
A maritime sentinel that still stands proudly out there!
So many people have struggled hard for this funding,
For the half million dollars that have come this way.
In addition to the one hundred and fifty thousand grant,
So we can restore the once pride of Chesapeake Bay.
It is located at the shrinking tip of Mathews County,
Situated back there isolated on its southernmost tip.
This was once an essential part of marine navigation,
Out in the Chesapeake for a Baltimore destined ship.
Lighthouses assured access to entrance from the sea,
Many erected in Thomas Jefferson’s administration.
Built of sandstone that came from the same quarries,
Providing this for the Capitol Building of our nation.
Elzy Burroughs would be the lighthouse’s first keeper,
This was a position that Thomas Jefferson did declare.
Assigned to duties and responsibilities of the position,
As keeper of the New Point Lighthouse standing there!
This was the plan by the Army Corps of Engineers,
They would use dredge spoils to restore the ground.
The preliminary study that they would later conduct,
Saw no economical benefit for the county this found!
Their later study called for the island’s reinforcement
To contain that outer boundary with a mass of stone.
That would now protect it from a hundred year storm,
As it’ll then remain standing on the island on its own.
Mr. Soles claims he’s not stopped his effort here,
He’ll continue to work on the operation phase two.
Studies are necessary items for these type projects,
He wants something physical before he’s through!
This is a known fact that the sea’s levels are rising,
It’s a threat to the island something we can’t deny.
Thanks to all these folks like Mr. Soles and friends,
Possibly a little more time they are allowed to buy.
Support the efforts to save this historical landmark,
It holds secrets to a glorious past that we can learn.
If we fail to support preservation of this lighthouse,
This part of our culture will be lost never to return!