Workmen performed an amazing feat during the warmer months of 1903, blasting away the ledge, building docks and wharves to handle heavy stone and machinery, and laying down the first levels of the lighthouse.
Construction started on June 1, 1903, just 5 weeks after the federal government issued the contract.
Using dynamite, workers blasted a ring around a stump of ledge, and assembled the curved, interlocking foundation walls, 7 feet thick, around that ledge for added strength. They filled the base of the lighthouse with rubble and concrete.
In his immense collection, historian Edward Rowe Snow had photos of the preparation of the ledge:
- Photo: Blasting to clear ledge to build Graves Light, from Edward Rowe Snow collection, Lighthouse Digest, February 2001.
- Photo: Workmen clear ledge for construction of Graves Light, from Edward Rowe Snow collection, Lighthouse Digest, February 2001.
Below are three photographs from 1903, showing the construction progress for the first year. Our guess is that the photos are from September or October of that year. These photos are from original “magic lantern” glass slides, provided by the Massachusetts Historical Society. We believe that GravesLightStation.com is publishing them for the first time.
I could never have fallen asleep in those shanties. The water was real close during high tide. Did they have any storm surges while these shanties were in place?