Derby Wharf was built by Elias Haskat Derby in 1770 to serve the fleets of trading vessels that made Salem a busy and wealthy port. The lighthouse was built on the wharf in 1871 to guide ships through the narrow channel.
Originally equipped with a sixth-order lens, the light now has a 155mm solar-powered optic.
Just down the waterfront from Derby Wharf is the Turner House, more famous as the House of Seven Gables. Old Salem is a textbook of Early American architecture.