Little could 18-year-old Nolan Snipes have realized that when he joined the Coast Guard in 1948 that 11 years later he would be featured with a wife and two children on the cover of a State of Maine Road Map.
Shortly after joining the Coast Guard, Nolan Snipes was assigned to West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine where he served under long-time lighthouse keeper Howard “Bob” Gray. He reported for duty on July 1, 1948 and stayed there until April 5, 1950 when he was transferred to North Carolina. It was in North Carolina where, in July of 1950, he married Lubec, Maine native Julia Collins, daughter of Joseph and Agnes Collins of Lubec.
Born to Noland and Julia Snipes in April of 1952 was daughter Judy, and in March of 1953 Nolan Jr. was born. In 1956 the Snipes family was fortunate enough to get transferred back to Lubec, and Nolan Snipes reported for duty at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse on June 5, 1956. Although their stay at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse was short-lived - they got transferred again on August 13, 1957 - the family gained notoriety when, two years later, the family’s photo appeared on the 1959 State of Maine Road Map that also prominently featured the iconic red and white striped West Quoddy Head Lighthouse.
Probably the most exciting thing to happen at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse while he was stationed there was that a new 20 car parking lot was completed by the town of Lubec at the top of the hill just before the entrance to the lighthouse property. Previously the tourists had to worm their way along the side of a narrow dirt road and often bogged down while turning.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2017 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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