Snark missiles were designed and built by Northrop for the US Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC). The program began in the late 1940's and struggled through technical difficulties and budget issues until 1955 when Eisenhower made it a top priority.
Work continued through the 1950's, though the missiles had abysmal test records. The most accurate test during that period fell a whopping 4km short of target. Many blamed its celestial navigation system for these issues. The growing list of launch failures from Cape Canaveral test sites led some servicemen to refer to the Atlantic Ocean off the Cape as "Snark infested waters."
The Snark was an "air-breathing design," launched from a mobile launcher platform by two rocket booster engines. Once airborne, it would switch to an internal jet engine for the remainder of its flight. If the warhead did not detach, the Snark could be returned for a belly landing and reused over and over.
In May of 1959, Presque Isle Air Force Base (AFB) began accepting delivery of operational missiles. In March of 1960, the missiles officially went on alert status. The 702nd Strategic Missile Wing was declared fully operational in February 1961. In March of 1961, President Kennedy declared the Snark obsolete and had the 702nd deactivated in June of the same year.
To reach the Presque Isle Snark site from Bangor, take I95 north and get off at the Houlton exit. Take Route 1 north to Presque Isle and follow the signs to the airport. At the far north end of the airport property are several large "hangars," one of which is now home to a sawmill operation.
These pictures were taken in the fall of 2008 by my good friend, Jim, when we visited the site on our way to Loring AFB.
The picture at top left comes from Jim Oskins' Snark history page.