The Graves Light
Congress appropriated funds for the light in 1902 and construction began in 1903 under direction of Royal Luther of Malden. The design of The Graves Light was very similar to that of Ram Island Ledge Light in Maine, which was built at about the same time—a slightly tapering conical tower of granite, the first 42 feet filled with concrete except for a central cistern, and then, above the entrance reached by a 30-foot exterior ladder, five levels, which were, in ascending order: landing and storage, engine room and fog signal, kitchen, keepers’ beds, and library and watch room. On top of these was the lantern, making the tower 113 feet high overall.
The Graves Light was automated in 1976. The Fresnel lens was reportedly removed at that time, and is now in storage at the Smithsonian. Power was supplied by an underwater cable running from Hull, Massachusetts—except between 1981 and 1983 when the cable was damaged and a generator was used to provide power. The cable was damaged again in March 2001, and the light converted to solar power three months later.
Prepared by Nancy S. Seasholes, 2009
* D’Entremont, Jeremy. Graves Light. New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide. 2007. Additional information.
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