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.
This is the big year for the Oil House restoration. We needed a decorative element to transition from the old stone blocks to the modern 2nd story.
Swenson Granite Works, a family business since 1883, cut a beautiful belt course of solid stone around the top of the original first story, to form a granite base of the new second level.
The fellows from Atlantic Restoration teamed up with King Pine Restorations to form a super-team to tackle the impossible.
Sixteen stones, each weighing 700 pounds, were hauled out in the Miss Cuddy I. She’s former Coast Guard Defender vessel that had been the shuttle to Graves Light until rough waters last year dragged her mooring and wrecked her on the ledge. Her USCG-designed hull came out intact, so we pulled off the cabin and turned her into a barge.
Since then, she’s hauled about 19 tons of steel, stone, and timber to supply us with materials for summer projects.
These five pictures show the process.
Using a big two ton-crane at the Winthrop Town Pier, Harbormaster Larry and his crew gently lower the supplies into her hold. We secure the load and begin the hour long haul to Graves, where we fasten Miss Cuddy tight to the rocks at high tide and pull the supplies using a hoist and cable trolley system designed by Nelson Metals in Maine with Nelson Wire Rope near Philadelphia.
Why such a crazy scheme? Well, due to the topography of Graves Ledge, a traditional crane and barge rig can’t get close enough to set the pilings for the new footbridge, or set the granite blocks for the Oil House.
So we devised a low-impact, greener (much!) method of transport.
At the end of the season, we’ll haul away the scaffolding, tidy up the worksite, and (sniff!) cut up Miss Cuddy for scrap.
Good ol’ Miss Cuddy I!
(Yes, we now have Miss Cuddy II, another Defender-class boat.)
It’s been a very busy summer – perhaps the busiest yet, and the crew is finishing up several big projects which will have a lasting impact on the six-year (so far!) restoration of Graves Light Station.
Dorian and Jason of Seacoast Finishers completed the astonishing solid copper reproduction of the Oil House roof and cupola today.
A stoneworker is seen cutting a 700-pound block of granite where the new second story meets the original stone first level.
We obtained the original blueprints from the Coast Guard to reconstruct the copper roof and cupola. The craftsmen at Seacoast got the details right, adding a stainless steel frame inside to hold back the big waves.
For the second story floor, the Driftwood Construction crew reused the old 12 x 12 timbers from the ruined original Oil House roof. They added some beautiful reclaimed wood from our friends at Longleaf Lumber.
A wet and cold spring may appear to have slowed us down in these pictures, but in fact Graves Light Station has been gearing up for its biggest summer since 1905.
We are rebuilding the footbridge that joined the Oil House to the Lighthouse. The last footbridge, designed by the Army Corps of Engineers, was brought down in the massive “No Name” storm of 1991.
The new 130′ bridge is being built, top to bottom, of stainless steel. Like Graves Light and the “unsinkable” Miss Cuddy I, we reclaimed the stainless steel pilings from Uncle Sam. The bridge got permitted in April.
The lads at Nelson Metal Fabrication are shown here cutting and welding the parts of the bridge. Each piece is being hauled out on Miss Cuddy I, the 25-foot Defender-class former Coast Guard fast boat that took a severe beating (but didn’t sink) last year. We’re converting her into a construction barge to finish the Graves Light restoration and reconstruction.
Check out Nelson Metal’s website for examples of its previous work at Graves – including the bronze interior railings in the lamp room, and the re-purposing of bronze porthole cutouts as outdoor benches on the watch deck.