Treasured checkerboard made by Graves Light keeper is back at the lighthouse

This original Graves Light checkerboard, made by Keeper Llewelyn Rogers in the 1930s, was gifted to Graves Light by the Rogers family in 2018.

It’s often said the best part of owning Graves Light is meeting interesting people.

Bruce at the UPS Store, delivering the checkerboard to Graves Light.

We just had the good fortune to hear from wonderful Molly and Bruce Nichols in New York state.

Molly’s mother received an antique checkerboard from her aunt Catherine in Wellfleet back in the 1970s.

Inscribed on the back is “Made by L. Rogers, Lighthouse Keeper on Graves Light Boston Harbor 1930s.”

Knowing our interest, Molly and Bruce shipped the relic to us because they “wanted to send it home.”

Well, it didn’t take us long to buy a proper vintage checker set on eBay to go along with the handmade checkerboard so the keepers at Graves can use it again.

Now the set is returned to the Graves Light watch room, waiting for a cozy game by the fire in our potbelly stove.

Thanks, Molly and Bruce!

A note about Keeper Llewellyn Rogers: Born in Maine in 1885, Rogers moved to Provincetown as a boy and worked for the Lighthouse Service for 17 years. He was first stationed at Minot’s Light, then Twin Light, Boston Light, Provincetown Light and finally Graves Light, where he was Graves’ last Keeper under the US Lighthouse Service.

He is standing in the doorway in the 1941 photo below, taken by the prolific Edward Rowe Snow. Keeper Rogers made this checkerboard using scraps of leftover linoleum from the kitchen floor.

The snowy photo shows Bruce readying the checkerboard for shipping to us.

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Two views from the same spot

Graves Light stands in the same spot but always seems to have a different view.

From the mainland four miles away, our friend Sean Foley shows how quickly the view of the lighthouse can change.

At sunrise on March 2, Sean caught calm seas reflecting a brilliant orange sky.

The next day, with Riley Gale surging, Sean caught a huge wave hitting Graves Light, sending up spray more than 100 feet. Graves Light is 118 feet high.

Sean and other photographers on shore are generous about sharing their photos with us. Thanks, friends.

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Clear the deck

Just before midnight during the Riley Gale, one of our cameras recorded the sea laying claim to our tool shed.

The gale pummeled Graves Light as the 27 foot seas smashed into the ledge, sending spray 117 feet to the very top.

This little clip shows the amazing power of nature. Like a great hand, a wave reaches up 20 feet to the dock, plucks the shed that was bolted to the timbers below, and drags it into the surf. See the video here on our Facebook page.

All the gear inside went to Davy Jones. Lighthouse insurance? What’s that?

It’s no great loss, when you think about it. Many people along the coast lost their cars and homes, and at least seven lost their lives.

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Our favorite Christmas ornament this year

We received the most wonderful holiday gift from our dear friends Jane and Jim at Boston Scuba: The Graves Light limited edition ornament created by the Winthrop Improvement & Historical Association.

The for sale at shops all over town with proceeds going to help the WIHA. They’re old school – almost as old as the Dean Winthrop House they’re devoted to preserving – so this ornament isn’t available online, but you can follow them on Facebook.

Call 617-846-8606 for more info.

And Merry Christmas!

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Seal party at Graves

Big party of seals out at the light today, and this curious little critter swam right up to welcome the Boston Scuba dive boat.

Thanks, Cap’n Pat, for the picture!

Below is a gallery of our seals at Graves over the past few years.


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Crowning achievement

Master Cabinetmaker Will installs his mahogany crown molding in the kitchen (watch deck).

Four original cast iron pieces were lost years ago, but once Uncle Mike gives the mahogany replacements a fresh coat of paint, they blend right in with the rest!

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Best part of fixing up Graves Light

The best part of fixing up The Graves hasn’t been the fabulous sunsets, discovering the dramatic history, or even watching. those cute baby seals.

It’s the wonderful people we’ve met along the way.

Hats off to the fellow whose been with us since the early days and still the most eager to jump on the early morning work boat.

Randy Clark, ladies and gents!

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Italy’s full-rigged ship Amerigo Vespucci passes by Graves

Italy’s magnificent ship-rigged Amerigo Vespucci  has visited Boston again!

She is seen passing by Graves Light as she entered the harbor on July 17.

After a trans-Atlantic trip to the Americas, the 330-foot ship made its first visit to Boston since 2000. The Boston Globe  covered the visit.

We saluted the Amerigo Vespucci  as it entered Broad Sound, passing us as a light fog burned off the harbor.

The ship is an Italian Navy training vessel. It honors the great Italian explorer – whose Latin name, Americus Vespucius, inspired the name of the two American continents and, consequently, our country.

Vespucci (1454-1512) proved that the American continents were their own land masses, and were not, as had been believed, parts of East Asia.

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Bathroom takes shape

Nat puts up the tile in the first-ever Graves Light bathroom.

Lots of enthusiasm here at Graves Light as we ready the new bathroom.

The lighthouse never had indoor plumbing as we know it, so a bathroom here is a first.

Master carpenter Nat is at it again.

He built the wooden bathroom in his Portland, Maine, shop, and installed it a few weeks ago.

The mahogany door, with porthole, is salvaged from an old boat.

Here, Nat is tiling the shower after he and Lynn laid out the marble pattern on the dock outside.

The plumbing and water treatment system are already in.

Soon we’ll have a fully functional sink, toilet, and shower.

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Tall Ships start SailBoston 2017 parade off Graves

Alexander von Humboldt II, a new square-rigger from Bremen, passes Graves Light. (We got this picture from Giles Parker’s Twitter account, but don’t know whom to credit.)

Fog failed to dispel the excitement of 50 tall ships visiting Boston Harbor for SailBoston 2017.

Square-riggers from around the world joined classic schooners like Canada’s Bluenose II, assembling near Graves Light to visit Boston.

The June 17-20 event was a breathtaking opportunity from our lighthouse observation point.

Even though the morning of the big sail parade began with a pea soup fog, we got the rare treat to watch the ships raise their sails as they entered Boston Harbor.

Below is a gallery of some of our pictures, and shots taken by others. We want to get these posted for the public to enjoy, and will work on captions and credits soon.

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