Digest>Archives> Nov/Dec 2011

Unobsky’s Lighthouse

By Timothy Harrison


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Photograph courtesy of Bob Berta.

Although it was nothing more than a replica, for many years, the Unobsky Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine symbolized the town’s proud maritime heritage while honoring its real red and white striped West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. The town and the two structures carried unique distinctions. Lubec, Maine is the easternmost town in the contiguous United States; West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is the easternmost lighthouse on the continental United States; and, until its demise, the Unobsky lighthouse replica was the eastern most lighthouse replica in the continental United States.

You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
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Photograph courtesy Lubec Historical Society.

For many years the lighthouse replica was used as an ice cream stand. It stood next to the Lobster Trap Gift Shop that existed from the 1960s through the 1970s, however, the lighthouse replica stood into the 1980s. Both were owned by the nearby Unobsky’s Department Store which occupied a building dating from before the turn of the century that was originally the C.H. Clark Department Store.

In the 1950s Unobsky’s added a single story addition that is today the home to Bayside Chocolate.

Unobsky’s Department Store closed in 1978 and at some point after that the building became the Lubec Apothecary that closed in 2005. Today it is occupied by a gift shop called The Laughing Raven.

The image showing the young girl, Sandy Tinker, age12, was on the front page of the second edition of the County Wide News on August 2, 1977. It was the second edition of the print newspaper, which is now an on-line media production only. With the decline of the sardine and canning industry in Lubec, the community suffered greatly with the closure of many of its businesses and a loss of population. However, the community is now slowly coming back as a tourist destination. The area where Unobsky’s Lighthouse replica and the Lobster Trap Gift Shop once stood is now a parking lot.

Some of this information may seem inconsequential to many of you, however we have reported this to show you how much you can learn about the history of an area just by researching a lost lighthouse replica. Think about what you can learn from researching a lighthouse facsimile in your area and even how much more you can then learn by researching one real lighthouse. Exploring history can be fun as well as rewarding.

This story appeared in the Nov/Dec 2011 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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