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10656 New Point Comfort Lighthouse Rehab. Mathews, VA

Categories : Convention & Conference Centers, Historical Preservations, Special Construction

Athens Building Corp. is awarded the contract for Historical Preservations to the New Point Comfort Lighthouse. The Scope of work provides for the 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 lantern room, foundation repairs, waterproofing, installation of solar panels and other electrical work, remediation of asbestos and lead, installation of site signage. New Point Comfort Light is a lighthouse in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay, United States, off the tip of the Middle Peninsula. Finished in 1804, it is the third-oldest surviving light in the bay, and the tenth-oldest in the United States. President Thomas Jefferson appointed Elzy Burroughs as the first Keeper and New Point Comfort Lighthouse was first lit on January 17, 1805. Since then its history has reflected that of the United States. The British Navy occupied it for several weeks during the War of 1812 before leaving it in shambles and burning the keeper’s house.

Existing Conditions as of February 2020

6/15/2020 – Mobilization Begins

August 15 2020 – Overcoming the Milestone Challenges

When Tom White, Senior Estimator  brought this project to the table for consideration for proposal, he indicated that it posed three difficulty milestones. The first was getting equipment, supplies and people to the Island.  The second was the erection of a scaffolding system needed in order to be able to perform the work required by the project documents. The Third and greatest obstacle was the ability to bring the 16K Pound Top down to the ground in order to restore it. Through much collaboration of the estimating team, many ideas were tossed as to how to overcome these milestones. Collaboration rendered solutions such as large barges and elaborate cranes, helicopter crane, and even use of snorkel lifts. Two weeks prior to the bid date, management expressed to Tom that this project was one that Athens Building wanted to be a part of. Tom went back to the drawing board and developed a work plan that “just made since”. His vision and selling point to management was simple. “We need to reconstruct this structure the same fashion that it was built by.” At the time of Thomas Jefferson, there were no Helicopters, Large Barges with Cranes or Snorkel Lifts he stated. They simply used scaffolding with pullies and erected the structure as it stands today. Utilizing today’s technology, the First Milestone was decided to be conquered using a series of Metal Spuds aligned in a way to support a landing which in turn will support a bridge to load Equipment, Supplies and Workers onto the island. Milestone number one is achieved and we are ready to proceed with Milestone Two. Our success on this project is largely contributed to our team and partners. None of this would be possible without the dedication of Mr. Gary Bunch with Marine Contracting. Mr. Bunch is vital to the maritime operations and a most valuable member of our team. In addition to Mr. Bunch, this project would not have been viable to bid without the early on assistance of Wayne and Jeanie Hudgins of Horn Harbour Marina.

July 2 2020 – Community is excited about the Project

September 2020

October 12 2020 – Milestone Two is Accomplished despite challenges from Hurricane Season

Milestone Challenge Two was so far the most challenging task. Hurricane Season has not allowed for many working days 85 feet above sea level. Fortunately, with Tom White’s vision and Tom Zannino’s design, the Superstructure has sustained 62MPH winds thus far without any damages. When Athens set out to get a scaffolding plan designed for the project, there was only one name that came to mind. Zannino Engineering Group headed by Tom Zannino not only has the experience and reputation to design such a structure, but also the innovation in design techniques in order to make it possible to build on such a small site footprint. Zannino has been a Partner with Athens Building Corp. for many difficult projects in the past. The design solutions they provide to us are always unimpeachable and as far as this project, they knocked it out of the park. Special Thanks to Michael Mitchel and John Ruger at West End Machine for the time vested in shop drawings for the Scaffolding Structure. Additionally, we would like to thank Mrs. Svaha Woodward for her gracious contribution to our efforts. Mrs. Woodward is one of the most generous and Bay friendly individuals we have encountered and we will be forever grateful for all she has provided to us.

11/28/2020 – After 200 years, the Lighthouse is Topless

Milestone Three is now conquered! The Lighthouse Top is on the ground, dismantled and ready for restoration. Lowered 68 feet ever so gently to the ground, the operation went as planned. This third and most complex milestone could not have been accomplished if not for the Knowledge, Honed Skillset, and Can-Do attitude of our Project Superintendent, David Mayhew. Along with our #2 on the site Jacob Mayhew and the Sams’ Richardson’s, Tom White’s vision of construction methodology is accomplished. Several others that we need to acknowledge here that have helped us in our venture are, M&M Building Supply. They have been most accommodating in making sure all of the materials we need are on the shelf. Great Vendor Partner. The Marina at Davis Creek. Craig has been more that accommodating in making sure our boats are running and full of fuel. And Conrad Bareford who has been a saint in letting us stage on his property in town.


In addition to the completion of the Third Milestone, the team has progressed with the paint and lead removal from the interior of the structure as well as 30% of the exterior surfaces. Grinding out of all of the interior joints as well as demolition and dismantling of the brick walls.

March 4, 2021

Although the winter has been a bit brutal in the bay, work on site has progressed slowly. More importantly, the show must go on. Our vendor partners have been working non stop behind the scenes in order to meticulously prepare all of the materials needed to complete the Project.

West End Machine of Richmond, VA has been hard at work restoring the precious metals.

Environcon has been working hard in order to remove all of the lead based coatings from the surfaces

Below is a video of the Ice Blasting method used.

Ice Blasting

Our Historic Masonry crews have been working when the weather is cooperating in order to get the lifts in place.

Our Quality Control manager has brushed up on the stone restoration process at the Cathedral Stone training facility,  in preparation for the next phase in the process.

Meanwhile,  Heath Blackburn of Black River Quarries in Vermont has finished mining, processing and is almost ready to ship the Mica Schist stone pavers.

Below is the video of how the 12 foot saw cuts through the mined stone block. This process runs day and night until the slabs are cut to a thickness of 4 inches, prior to being cut to the profile required to create the pattern.

Stone Cutting

We are pleased with the quality of work we are achieving. Architectural Windows has shipped the windows and they are in our staging area. River City Industrial has completed the new Metal Fabrications, and Phoenix Doors of Ohio has started on the fabrication of the Historic FRP Door.