Derby Wharf

Salem, Massachusetts

Derby Wharf Light This picture of Derby Wharf was taken in the pouring rain, though mercifully you can not tell. My friend Jason and I drove up to Salem from Boston specifically looking for the light, and given the weather, we had hoped the light would be on. The Derby Wharf light sits at the end of the Derby Wharf, in downtown Salem. The light was originally built in 1870 to light Salem's inner harbor. The first light at this site was an old oil-burning lamp that hung on a pole.

The present brick tower is 12' high and was painted white in 1922. The tower cost $3,000 to build, and the light was first lit in January of 1871. On the other side of the tower is a black steel door, used to enter, and you will notice that there are no windows. The first light in the tower was a 5th-order lens that shone red. In 1906, the lens was changed to a 4th-order flashing lens. Finally, in 1906, the light was changed to a fixed red light with a 6th order lens. At this time the light was downgraded to a harborlight. When the light was changed to flashing, the tower was electrified.

The light was deinstalled in 1977 and the light and structure were turned over to the National Park Service. A modern solar powered beacon was installed in 1983 by the Friends of Salem Maritime and the light became a private aid to navigation.

To get to the light, take MA 1A into Salem, Mass. Park in downtown Salem and walk to the old Custom house. The Derby Wharf will be across the street in front of you.