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Bakers Island Lighthouse

Bakers Island lighthouse

Salem, Massachusetts
Built in 1805


Baker’s Island is about three miles east of the entrance to Salem Harbor.

Latitude: 42° 32' 11" N
Longitude: 70° 47' 09" W


Historic Stories:

Bakers Island Lighthouse was originally constructed with twin lights about 40 feet apart. Bakers Island Light’s first keeper was Geroge Chapman, who later became blind, with the cause believed to be from the glare of the two lights.

In 1816, one of the twin lights was removed and the remaining one was rebuilt, but this change confused mariners with Boston Light and caused shipwrecks, like the Union in 1817.

In 1820, the two lights were placed back on Bakers Island as two towers known as the “Ma and Pa” towers until 1926 when the smaller tower was removed.

early Bakers Island light

Bakers Island Range Lights
Courtesy US Coast Guard

In 1879, a tornado struck Bakers Island, killing 30 people in the Boston Bay area and destroying the fog bell tower on the island.

On Independence Day in July of 1898, the tour boat Surf City picked up a load of tourists on the island, and after unloading some of the passengers in Salem, proceeded on to the city of Beverly. A short time afterwards, a violent storm with high winds that rained large hailstones caused the vessel to tilt sideways, filling the ship with water and causing it to overturn spilling its passengers into the water. Although most of the passengers survived the disaster with help especially from one of the crewmen of the vessel, eight women and children died in the disaster. The crewman later received a lifesaving medal for his part in helping to save many of the passengers on board.



Places to Visit:

Exploring the Lighthouse

The Essex National Heritage Area Group, who are part of the Bakers Island Light Organization, will take you aboard the Naumkeag, and are the only group allowed to take visitors to explore the grounds around Bakers Island Lighthouse, with one-hour out of a two-hour tour provided to enjoy on the island lighthouse grounds. The ENH also provides various historic walking, running, and sailing events covering over 500 square miles north of Boston.

Stay Overnight 
Recently provided by the Essex National Heritage Group is a chance for visitors to stay overnight during the summer months in the Assistant Keeper's house for up to six guests for 2 nights, on Fridays and Staurdays, during the xummer months. For those who want to get "off the grid", the building is solar powered with basic furniture and filtered well water. See the link up top for more info.

Bakers Island lighthouse tours provided by Essex National Heritage Area


The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is a historic museum offering marine artifacts from Salem’s early days.

Docked at Derby Wharf, near the Derby Wharf Lighthouse, you can take the half-mile walk to Derby Wharf Lighthouse and enjoy views of Salem harbor, and explore the Friendship Sloop on the wharf, which is a replica of an eighteenth century trade vessel.

Friendship Sloop vessel in salem

Friendship Sloop

For those looking for a sailing adventure, climb aboard the Schooner Fame of Salem. It’s an 1812 replica of a privateer vessel, one that would be armed and would remove supplies from British merchant vessels. They provide 2-hour sails around Salem Harbor. The schooner sails from Memorial Day through Halloween from Pickering Wharf Marina in downtown Salem, Massachusetts.

For those interested in visiting Salem during the fall season, Salem hosts Haunted Happenings, with a series of events and festivals during the month of October. Nearly 250,000 people dressed in all types of costumes descend upon the city during the week of Halloween. Visitors can take various haunted tours, meet psychics, witches and warlocks, watch the Grand Parade, attend various costume balls, eat plenty of special foods, or watch chilling theater presentations.


Contact Info:

Bakers Island Light Orgainization
Phone: (978) 740-0444
Salem MA 01970


Local Boat Tour

Essex National Heritage Area
This is a non-profit organization that offers lighthouse tours to explore Bakers Island Lighthouse. Tours are provided during the summer months.

10 Federal Street, Suite 12, Salem, MA 01970
Phone: (978) 740-0444



My book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, provides special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions and tours you can explore. 

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England




New Book Just Published Summer 2023!

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships:
Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted
Coal Schooners of New England

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

Available also as an eBook and you can get it at Amazon Books.

Look inside!

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships (ten original six-masted coal schooners and one colossal seven-masted vessel), built to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies, and measured longer than a football field!

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases the historical accounts that followed these mighty ships. These true stories include competitions, accidents, battling destructive storms, acts of heroism, and their final voyages.

Click for larger video here.




New England Lighthouses: Famous Shipwrecks, Rescues & Other Tales

This image-rich book contains over 50 stories of famous shipwrecks and rescues around New England lighthouses, and also tales of hauntings.

I have included an interview of one of the last lighthouse keepers of the 1950's, Paul Baptiste, who was keeper at Baker's Island Light and Monhegan Island Light in Maine. This story helps to learn and appreciate what life was like for he and his family at these lighthouses. My personal favorite story of a remarkable man and his wife Helen.

You'll find this book and my lighthouse tourism books from the publisher Schiffer Books, or in many fine bookstores like Barnes and Noble.




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