David Waller

The Graves Island Lighthouse, built in 1903, is a 113-foot granite-block structure on one of the outermost shoals on the approach to Boston Harbor, about 9 miles from downtown Boston. To provide ballast against winter storms—which send solid water crashing nearly to its top—the bottom third of the main structure is solid masonry all the way through.

The lowest working level, at the 40-foot mark, is reached by a steeply sloping ladder, with six additional floors connected by a spiral staircase. While the stonework tapers on the outside, the interior is a uniform 13-foot cylinder with walls up to 7 feet thick. One former light keeper reportedly compared the keeper’s accommodations to living...

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