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Fort Pickering
(Winter Island) Lighthouse

Fort Pickering (Winter Island )light

Salem, Massachusetts
Built in 1871


Next to Winter Island Marine Park, at the northern entrance to Salem Harbor. The park is open to the public for a fee.

Latitude: 42° 31' 36" N
Longitude: 70° 52' 00" W


Historic Stories:

On Winter Island there is an area called Execution Hill, where there were several hangings in the 1800’s.

Fort Pickering (Winter Island) lighthouse was built in 1871 as part of a three lighthouse system, with Derby Wharf light also in Salem, and Hospital Point light in nearby Beverly to accommodate the shipping traffic around Salem harbor.

One keeper accepted a job on shore heading up the Plummer Home for Orphaned Boys and was fired as keeper when word got out of this new second position.

It is documented that Keeper John Harris was absent from the lighthouse for only five nights in his 37 years of duty, even though he was only a few miles away from the city.

early Fort Pickering lighthouse

Early Fort Pickering Light
Courtesy US Coast Guard

In January 1934, a blizzard with temperatures below -10 degrees, kept 30 men in the keeper’s house covered in snow with no heat until a plow could get through.

Fort Pickering light



Places to Visit Nearby:

Both Fort Pickering (Winter Island) Light and Derby Wharf Light are easily accessible. Winter Island Park offers campsites for recreational vehicles, a boat launch, picnic areas, a bathhouse, and a short beach for visitors for a parking fee, residents can visit for free.

Salem offers plenty of museums and cultural events that document Salem’s history back to the days of the pilgrims. Salem’s fame in its famous witch trials from the fears of witchcraft in the 1690’s that spread throughout the nation and Europe is told at The Salem Witch Museum.

Salem Willows Park is an oceanfront neighborhood and amusement park with two beaches, 200-year-old willow trees, and a historic carousel built in 1866.

Visitors can explore lighthouses in the area on the Schooner Fame, an old time sailing vessel out of Fort Pickering. For those who really want to explore city life, ride the Salem Ferry from Boston's Long Wharf to Salem Harbor and back, and view Fort Pickering and Derby Wharf lighthouses in Salem Harbor. 

The lighthouse is an easy walk with a few hiking trails around. Fort Pickering light with late afternoon sun setting




Contact Info:
Winter Island Park
50 Winter Island
Salem, MA 01970
Phone: (978) 745-9430

Salem Historical Society
203 Washington St. #263
Salem MA 01970


Local Boat Tours and Ferries For Visitors

Boat cruises mentioned below may offer many types of cruises. While some may offer specific lighthouse cruises to Fort Pickering Light, some will pass by specific lighthouses as part of charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, and other types of excursions.

Mahi Mahi Cruises & Charters
Among daily cruises in Salem harbor, they provide specialized lighthouse cruises as part of their Early Summer Lighthouse Cruise and the Lighthouse Fall Foliage and Chowda Cruise.
P.O. Box 3063
Salem, MA
Phone: (800) 992-MAHI (6244)


Sailing Schooner Fame
Replica of early 1800’s schooner.
Pickering Wharf Marina
(978) 729-7600



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