Welcome to the official home page of Graves Light Station, also known as Graves Light or Graves Island Light. Graves Light guards the entrance of Boston harbor. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the lighthouse ledge from the safety of their kayaks or boats. Visitors are NOT permitted to use Graves Light moorings.
Graves Light Station and Graves Ledge are privately owned. There are no public facilities on the property. The rocks are dangerous to boats and people. Those who land on Graves Ledge without permission will be considered trespassers.
Graves is within the boundaries of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, a part of the US National Parks Service. It is illegal to fly drones within the boundaries of US National Parks. The operation of drones over or around Graves Light is prohibited.
A heavy-lift Erickson Air Crane helicopter ferried the five-ton marine concrete walls and a completed timberframe roof from a barge to Graves Ledge.
Waiting crews guided the massive pieces in place as the helicopter – Erickson’s civilian version of Sikorsky’s military CH-64 Tarhe Skycrane – neatly lowered them, one at a time, on the heavy granite Oil House.
The Oil House was built in 1905 to store whale oil used to fuel the Graves Light beacon. It is made of heavy granite blocks and has withstood all seas and weather ever since.
Making an equally tough second story was a task we gave to Carson Concrete, which pre-cast the four interlocking side panels in Pennsylvania and sent them to Boston by barge.
The original wooden roof also survived, but was too battered to salvage. Haystack Joinery in Maine built a magnificent timberframe replacement on shore. We helicoptered it out in one piece along with the concrete second story.
Hats off to our most daring and dedicated crew, which pulled off the job flawlessly on the icy ledge. Everyone’s safe.
Here’s a shoutout to Professor Russ Rowlett, whose years of work have given everybody access to what could be the world’s largest database of lighthouses.
“For many years, Russ Rowlett, a mathematics professor at the University of North Carolina, has been building one of the most useful lighthouse related sites on the Internet,” the Lighthouse Society reports.
“The Lighthouse Directory provides information and links for more than 20,700 of the world’s lighthouses, divided into sections by countries and regions. There’s also a list of the latest lighthouse news headlines and other pertinent facts. Anyone who’s struggled to find information on a lighthouse, famous or obscure, has probably gone to the Lighthouse Directory in search of enlightenment at one time or another,” the Lighthouse Society says.
Well we finally brought it out to Graves this week, in two pieces, and set it up on the first floor.
It’s an exact copy of the 1905 “Service Cabinet” used at Graves to organize the oil lamps and their gear. We have put the cabinet to its original use. As seen in the picture, it now stores genuine, antique, US Light House Service oil pitchers, wick maintenance kit, glass lamp chimneys, and other equipment.
The US Coast Guard provided us with the original plans from more than a century ago. Kennedy made this exact replica, to precise specifications, from the Coast Guard plans.
Well done, Kenny!
Kenny at the firehouse with the exact replica cabinet he built in Connecticut.
Hoisting the cabinet from the dinghy to the dock.
In its new and final home, the first floor of Graves Light.
Storing antique, original US Light House Service oil cans and lamp parts.
The guys from CCI Construction have finished reinforcing the Oil House and are waterproofing the tower, while up in Maine, cabinet makers Nat and Don are building some of the last of the magnificent interior furniture and fixtures.
Lynn finishes the careful work to set the true-to-the-original hexagonal tiles on the first deck.
Barry pours the new slab to replace the old.
July has been a busy month on Station.
Inside Graves Light, on the first floor about 40 feet up, which we call the “basement,” Barry from CCI pours a new slab floor and Lynn lays down the same period-correct hexagonal tiles to finish the job.
Mike and other lads from CCI have staged the oil house, removed the rotted roof, and are fortifying the place to last another 100 years.
Meanwhile, the new solar panels on our hopefully storm-proof new shed are generating plenty of power to run all systems.
No need for the fuel-burning electric generators any more.