Digest>Archives> Nov/Dec 2013

Record Price Paid for Graves Lighthouse


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The Graves Lighthouse, an iconic structure in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, has sold for a record government lighthouse auction price of nearly $1 million.

The final bid of $933,888.00 went to Dave Waller, who is co-owner Brickyard VFX, a video special-effects company. Although Waller doesn’t even own a boat, he has been to the lighthouse and climbed its 40-foot ladder during a GSA tour of the lighthouse before it was put up for auction. However, he used to sail by the Graves Lighthouse with his father who did own a boat.

Owning a historic property is nothing new to Waller and his wife, Lynn, who is a graphic designer. Over twenty years ago they purchased an abandoned firehouse, which they converted into a three-story home. Waller, who is a collector of old signs and other unique items, some of which are out on loan to various entities, said that the Graves Lighthouse “is a great book waiting to be opened.”

Although the couple is not yet exactly sure what they will do with the lighthouse, they do want to restore it, perhaps as a vacation home, or open it to the public, perhaps as an off shore inn of some type. But, whatever their end result will be, they have a lot of work ahead of them.

Access to the lighthouse is not easy. At high tide the ledges are just below the surface and at low tide the ledge is covered with slippery seaweed - and then there’s that 40-foot ladder that goes straight up!

First lit on the night of September 1, 1905, the lighthouse took two years to build at a cost of $188,000.00. Eventually the light from the lantern room was upgraded to an amazing 3.2 million candle power. The 113-foot tall Graves Lighthouse was automated in 1976 and its 12-foot high Fresnel lens was removed and is now in the possession of the Smithsonian Institute, where it has remained in storage for 37 years and, unfortunately, it is not on display to the public.

This story appeared in the Nov/Dec 2013 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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