The recent sale at auction of the Graves Island lighthouse at the mouth of Boston Harbor to local antiques aficionado Dave Waller is a good outcome. Waller, who operates a business on Newbury Street, isn’t a recluse. On the contrary, he gets a kick out of sharing his collectibles, including antique signs, with local museums and restaurants.
The 10-acre Graves is among the most remote and inaccessible of the 34 islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. The windswept lighthouse lacks plumbing and running water. Still, Waller envisions it as a possible site for an inn. Whatever it lacks in amenities would be more than offset by an ocean view that extends from Marblehead to Hull.
The proceeds from the auctions of antiquated lighthouses to private parties provides the Coast Guard with funds to maintain and restore working lighthouses along the country’s coastal waters. Waller, who paid $933,000 for the lighthouse on Graves, is required to keep the property in good shape. He is also required to provide the Coast Guard with access to fog horns and other navigational aids on the property. More exciting is Waller’s signal that the public may be given access — albeit limited — to the island, as well. The nonprofit Boston Harbor Island Alliance, which advocates for better public access in the national recreation area, is eager to explore the possibilities with Waller.
Graves isn’t likely to be added anytime soon to the popular Georges and Spectacle Island ferry runs from Long Wharf. But it’s good to know that some people will get to enjoy the spectacular setting, along with the ubiquitous sea birds and harbor seals.