Maritime Heritage Trail is a partnership project initiated in
2009 to preserve the valued coastal landscape, and tell the
colorful history of Mathews Countys nautical heritage. Phase I
of the project will focus on water routes, and will follow the90
mile Blueways Water Trail, a component of the Chesapeake Bay
Gateways Network. Later phases will include bicycle routes and
scenic drives to allow local citizens and tourists a chance to
explore and learn about the countys natural and cultural
the earliest English settlement in 1650, Mathews County is
rich in historical landmarks--buildings, churches,
estates, cemeteries-- including a Courthouse, circa 1795,
still in use today, centuries-old gravesites, a haunted
house, and the Tabernacle, one of the last remaining
outdoor pavilions for religious use.
Visit the historic Court Green where the Debtors Jail, Sheriff's
Office and County Administration Offices have been in
operation since 1795--although the uses have changed
through the years.
A monument, erected in 1928 by the Daughters of the
American Revolution, stands in front of the courthouse
near a memorial honoring Confederate soldiers.
Historic Marker Tour of the county. Once you click the link notice at the bottom of the page a link to see a map. If you are planning stops in other nearby locations you will want to visit www.markerhistory.com. Then,
check in with the
Historical Society, headquartered in Tompkins
Cottage circa 1815, the oldest wooden structure in the historic district,
once owned by
a prominent local planter, merchant, sea captain, and ship
owner/builder, and the father of Capt.
Sally Tompkins, the first woman to be commissioned an
officer in the Confederate Army.
Thirty-nine churches--and many more cemeteries,
some dating back to the 1600s--grace the landscape of Mathews
County. Using the
Historical Society's publication Tombstones of Mathews County
as a tour guide, genealogists find a wealth of information when
searching for their roots.
The third oldest lighthouse on the Bay,
Comfort Lighthouse was commissioned in 1804 by Thomas
Jefferson. The 55-foot octagonal sandstone lighthouse sits
on an island, separated from the mainland by the Hurricane of
1933. View by boat or from the New Point Comfort Preserve
established as a community project, the
Museum started out on a small scale. From the beginning it
was obvious that there was a great deal of interest in
preserving the long
and colorful history of Gwynn's Island and
Mathews County. The
Museum grew rapidly and by the end of the first year space for the
many exhibits and artifacts had become limited, so
plans were made to look for a new home on the Island. A
100-year-old building, originally serving as the Odd Fellows
Lodge and later the Island's first public school, was donated in
1992 and restored by dedicated volunteers to what you see today.
Mathews Maritime Museum
is owned and operated by the Mathews Maritime Foundation.
Established in 1998, the Foundation is a non-profit organization
dedicated to preserving and protecting Mathews County's maritime
and cultural heritage through research, conservation,
documentation and education.
Mathews' old houses come to life and share their
stories in a soon-to-be-released book produced by the Historic
Sites and Structures Committee of the Mathews County
Bar Neck House