Salem Lighthouse in Infrared
Winter Island’s strategic position at the entrance to Salem’s inner harbor was Important in time of war and in times of peace. It’s been stated that no ship ever ran aground there as long as the lighthouse (built in 1869) has been there.
The cast iron, brick-lined tower, which through much of its history was normally painted brown or red, was built just offshore and was attached to Winter Island by a wooden walkway.
After passing Baker’s Island, mariners would line up the Fort Pickering and Derby Wharf lights to enter Salem Harbor.
In the 1930s, a Coast Guard air station was built on Winter Island, and many of its personnel lived in the keeper’s dwelling until new quarters were completed. An offshore buoy replaced the lighthouse when the Coast Guard vacated the island in 1965, and the deserted tower soon began to deteriorate. The Blizzard of 1978 ripped the tower door from its hinges, causing it to fall into the harbor. In the early 1980s the Fort Pickering Light Association was organized, and as part of their restoration efforts they fished the door from the harbor and replaced it on the tower. Following restoration, Fort Pickering Light was relit in 1983 as a private aid to navigation.
The light now flashes once every four seconds.
Although the keeper’s house, walkway, barn and other out-buildings no longer exist, frequent summer events, a campground, draw many visitors to Winter Island and Fort Pickering Light.