Graves Light, Boston Harbor; close-up view

  • Graves Light, Boston Harbor; close-up view
  • Graves Light is one of Massachusetts' youngest lighthouses. An iron bell buoy was placed near the ledges called the Graves in 1854. It was later replaced by a whistling buoy beyond the northeast end of the ledges. A new major shipping channel into Boston Harbor, the Broad Sound Channel, opened in the early 1900s, necessitating a lighthouse at the Graves. In 1902, Congress appropriated $75,000 for a lighthouse and fog signal, and Governor Crane of Massachusetts signed a deed conveying 435,400 square feet at the ledges to the federal government. The project ultimately cost $188,000, meaning a second appropriation of $113,000 was required in April 1904. Construction took place from 1903 to 1905, and Royal Luther of Malden, Massachusetts, was in charge. The style of Graves Light is very similar to Maine's Ram Island Ledge Light, built at about the same time. The granite for the tower was cut at Rockport on Cape Ann. Rock on the ledges was blasted, and the foundation was laid just four feet above the low tide mark. The first 42 feet were completed in the summer of 1903. While the granite was being put in place, the ironwork was being manufactured in Boston and a huge first-order Fresnel lens was being created in Paris. The summer of 1904 saw the lighthouse reach a height of 88 feet. Construction was completed during the following year. A granite oil house was built 90 feet south of the tower, reachable by a footbridge. On the night of September 1, 1905, Graves Light's first keeper, Elliot C. Hadley, lighted the most powerful light in Massachusetts history for the first time. The gigantic lens floated on 400 pounds of mercury. Storms and vandalism have done their share of damage. The old walkway has been destroyed by storms, and vandals have caused thousands of dollars in damage. The fog signal house was swept away by the "Perfect Storm" of October 1991. The badly damaged landing platform was repaired in 1993. The original oil house still stands. The submarine cable from the town of Hull that powered Grave
  • Close-up view of Grave Light in Boston Harbor.;
  • Title provided by cataloger
  • Date estimated
  • 1910?


“Graves Light, Boston Harbor; close-up view,” NOBLE Digital Heritage, accessed May 24, 2020,


Please let us know if you have any corrections, additional information or questions about this item.