Boston, Massachusetts

The Graves Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse located in Boston Harbor in Boston, Massachusetts. It's the furthest out lighthouse of Boston Harbor.

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@cmh2315fl (Flickr)

About This Location


The Graves Lighthouse, a venerable sentinel perched in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, marks the outermost boundary of this bustling harbor. As a guardian of maritime safety and a symbol of Boston's nautical heritage, this historic lighthouse has stood the test of time and continues to serve as an iconic landmark.

Why was the lighthouse needed, and where was the designated placement?

The need for the Graves Lighthouse became apparent due to the complex waterways and treacherous shoals that characterize Boston Harbor. The designated placement for this vital navigational aid was the Graves, a cluster of underwater rocks located at the outermost edge of the harbor. These rocky formations posed a significant hazard to vessels entering or leaving Boston Harbor, making the establishment of a lighthouse crucial to ensure safe navigation.

When was the lighthouse established?

The Graves Lighthouse was first established in 1905, and its historical light has served as a guiding beacon for mariners for over a century.

Specifications of the lighthouse:

  • Height: The Graves Lighthouse stands at approximately 113 feet tall, making it an imposing structure in Boston Harbor.
  • Shape: It features a distinctive architectural design, with a cylindrical tower constructed of brick. Its overall appearance exudes a sense of maritime grandeur.
  • Color: Traditionally, the lighthouse tower is painted white, providing high visibility against the backdrop of the sea.
  • Flashing Pattern: Historically, the Graves Lighthouse exhibited a characteristic white light that flashed at regular intervals, serving as a navigational reference point.

Changes to the lighthouse tower and station:

Throughout its history, the Graves Lighthouse has undergone various renovations and maintenance efforts to ensure its continued functionality and preservation. Technological advancements in lighting and navigation equipment have been implemented over the years to enhance its role as a navigational beacon.

Listing on the National Register of Historic Places:

Yes, the Graves Lighthouse has earned recognition for its historical significance and architectural charm, securing its place on the National Register of Historic Places. This designation underscores its importance as a maritime heritage site.

Ownership and Maintenance Today:

The Graves Lighthouse is currently owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, which upholds its role as a critical navigational aid and ensures its continued operation.

Visiting the lighthouse today:

Visiting the Graves Lighthouse can be a unique and memorable experience, although there are some considerations to keep in mind. The lighthouse itself is not typically open to the public, as it serves primarily as a navigational aid.

However, the surrounding grounds and nearby islands offer excellent opportunities for recreational boating, photography, and birdwatching. Spectacular views of the lighthouse can be enjoyed from afar, and boat tours or charters often include the Graves Lighthouse as part of their itineraries, allowing visitors to appreciate its historical significance and the stunning coastal landscape of Boston Harbor.

For those interested in visiting, it's advisable to check with local tour operators or harbor cruise companies to inquire about tours that may include a close-up view of the Graves Lighthouse. While there may not be public access to the lighthouse itself, the opportunity to witness this historic beacon in its picturesque maritime setting is an experience to cherish.

Lighthouse Specs
  • Year Constructed: 1905
  • First Lit: 1905
  • Construction: Granite
  • Tower Shape: Conical
  • Height: 113 feet
  • Focal Height: 98 feet
  • Markings: Natural tower with a black painted lantern
  • Characteristic: Flashing light twice every 15 seconds
  • Range: 15 nautical miles
  • Status: Active
  • NRHP Number: 87002041

Location Features

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The Graves, Boston, Massachusetts

GPS Coordinates:
42.365222, -70.869278
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
The Graves Lighthouse in Boston Harbor is located on a remote little island. It is about 4 miles away from the mainland. It can be viewed from Deer Island in Boston, Fort Revere Park in Hull, and Lodge Park in Nahant. Ultimately, the lighthouse is best viewed from a boat or a plane.


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