Fort Pickering Light
Fort Pickering Quick Facts
Year Station Established: 1871
Is the Light operational? Yes
Year Light First Lit: 1871
Tower Height: 32 ft.
Present Optic: ML-300, Solar
Existing Keepers Quarters? No
Fort Pickering Lighthouse
(7 photos, 134KB total download)
Last Visited: April, 2002
Fort Pickering Light was established in 1871, the same year as Derby Wharf Light in Salem Harbor and Hospital Point Light in nearby Beverly. For many years before, Baker's Island's twin lights had served as the only guides to the harbor. With the addition of the new lights, mariners would line up Fort Pickering and Derby Wharf Lights after passing Baker's Island on their way into Salem Harbor.
The lighthouse was built of cast iron lined with brick, and it exhibited a flashing white light 28 feet above sea level.
The lighthouse tower, originally painted red, was built slightly offshore. A walkway connected it to the shore.
The Coast Guard left Winter Island in 1969, and at the same time the lighthouse was replaced by an offshore buoy. With no one watching out for it the old tower soon fell into disrepair.
The infamous blizzard of 1978 took the door right off the tower and it remained underwater for several years.
A group of concerned citizens and businesses formed the Fort Pickering Light Association in the early 1980s. They fished the door out of the harbor and put it back on the lighthouse. The lighthouse was refurbished and the foundation was repaired, and Fort Pickering Light was relighted in 1983 as a private aid to navigation.
The lighthouse went dark for a few months in early 1995 when conduit erosion cut off the power supply from shore. It was converted to solar power in April 1995, with a white flash of four-tenths of a second every four seconds. The $2,300 cost of the new light was split by the City of Salem and the Fort Pickering Light Association.
The lighthouse received a facelift in 1999, thanks to a community development block grant.
New England Lighthouses - A Virtual Guide
Fort Pickering Light is within the property of Winter Island Park. The park is open year-round. From the parking lot it is a short walk to the light.
Nearest Address: 50 Winter Island Rd, Salem, MA
- Once in Salem take Derby Road past the House of Seven Gables.
- Derby Road will merge in with Fort Road. Continue on Fort Road.
- At a fork in the road bear right onto Winter Island Road. Fort Pickering will be just ahead on the left.
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