Graves Lighthouse is a classic, granite, wave-swept offshore lighthouse tower on a barren ledge in outer Boston Harbor. It went into service in 1905 with a huge first-order Fresnel lens from Paris, rotating on 400 pounds of mercury, produced a light that was later upgraded to 3.2 million candlepower– it was for many years the most powerful light in New England. It was staffed with resident keepers until its 1976 automation.
The lighthouse was sold in a government auction in September 2013 to businessman David Waller. He and his wife, Lynn, a graphic designer, live in a restored fire station in the Boston suburb of Malden. Since buying Graves Light, the Wallers have completed a great deal of restoration, and you can follow their progress on the website graveslightstation.com. Dave and Lynn Waller were honored with the American Lighthouse Foundation’s Keeper of the Light Award in May 2018. Bob Trapani, Jr. executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation, took part in this interview along with Light Hearted host Jeremy D’Entremont. This is part one of a two-part interview.
The video below shows Alex Karnes, Dave Waller, and Phil Christopher with Dave Waller’s “Frankenlens,” a first-order Fresnel lens created from spare parts from Chance Brothers lenses. You can read more about the lens here.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org