• Lush vegetation on the top of Spectacle Island's North drumlin dominates the foreground. Boston's skyline can be seen in the distance.  The park's logo with tag line minutes away, worlds apart empashises the stark contrast between the city and islands.

    Boston Harbor Islands

    National Recreation Area Massachusetts

Island Facts: The Graves

This rocky ledge is home to the outermost lighthouse in Boston Harbor.


 
This bedrock outcropping is one of the Brewsters, a group of the outermost islands in the park. It is an active Coast Guard navigational aid facility, so the buildings are not open to the casual visitor and there are no public rest rooms on the island.
 
Short History
The tallest of the three lighthouses in Boston Harbor, the Graves is sited at the main entrance to Boston Harbor, and continues its tradition as a navigational aid, though now automated.

The Graves Light is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. For more information about the facility, please go to the National Park Service Maritime Heritage Program Inventory of Historic Light Stations.
 

General Information
This island of Boston Harbor Islands national park area is managed by U.S. Coast Guard, First District.

Agency Designation: Graves Light
Current Use: Aid to navigation; park purposes
Harbor Location: Outer Harbor
Acreage: 1.8 (upland acres: 1.8)
Highest elevation: 15 feet
Longitude: 42° 21' 38.3" North
Latitude: 70° 52' 08.6" West
Miles from Long Wharf: 11

 
Visitor Facilities & Services
The Graves is not open to private boaters. There is no docking. Boaters must anchor off shore.
Hours:
Not open for recreational use
Piers/Docks:
No
Visitor season:
0
Boat slips:
0
Visitor staff:
No
Moorings:
0
Guided tours:
No
Park boats:
None
Lifeguards:
No
Car access:
No
Flush toilets:
No
Campsites:
0 (capacity ea: 0)
Composting toilets:
No
Group campsites:
0 (capacity ea: 0)
Picnic areas:
No
Camping capacity:
0
Refreshments:
No
Cooking grills:
0
Drinking water:
No
Walking trails:

No

Visitor Cautions: Access to the island is discouraged and is dangerous due to rocks and surf.

 
Natural History Overview
Vegetation
There is only aquatic vegetation on the island.

Wildlife
Survey in progress.

Geology
The Graves is an aggregation of rock outcroppings rising 15 feet above the high water level.

Water Features
A cistern with a holding tank for pumped water is located in the base of the lighthouse.

Views and Vistas
The 113-foot tall Graves Light is visible from a 24-nautical mile range. Views from the Graves to the surrounding harbor are generally inaccessible.
 
Structures
Buildings
  • Lighthouse – 113-feet high; rubble stone, brick and granite; strengthened with iron bands
Fortifications
  • None
Other Structures
  • Railing and platforms are secured to the rock outcrops to aid access to the lighthouse.
Comments
Graves Light Station is included in the 1987 thematic nomination, Lighthouses of Massachusetts.

Did You Know?

The French warship Magnifique

Lovells Island in Boston Harbor National Recreation Area is the site of the park's most notorious shipwreck. On August 15, 1782 a historic French seventy-four gun warship, Magnifique, crashed along the rocky shore rumored to be carrying long-lost treasure. More...