1967-1973 James Nolan
James Nolan was born on June 23, 1901 in Boston, Massachusetts to John J. and Mary (Ringrose) Nolan. At 19, Nolan joined his uncle who was prospecting in Alaska. He came to Wrangell and traveled with him six or seven months. He spent a year trapping, then worked for the West Coast branch of Vermont Marble Co. for three seasons.
He started a soda fountain and took over the drug store in Wrangell. In 1941 he purchased Wrangell Drug Co., and combined both businesses. During the summers, he worked a commercial fisherman.
Nolan met his wife Elsie Sylvester when she came home to Wrangell for a visit. The couple married in 1925.
Nolan was active in community affairs, spending four years on the Wrangell City Council. He was a U.S. Marshall in that Southeast community from 1934 to 1945 and was one of the first members of the Wrangell Port Commission. Nolan was the town’s planning and zoning commissioner, and also served the Wrangell Chamber of Commerce as secretary and president.
Prior to his efforts as a member of the Constitutional Convention, Nolan served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1947-1951 and was the House speaker in 1949. He then was elected to the state Senate where he served until 1967. He was elected Senate president in 1955.
In 1967 Nolan was appointed to the Board of Regents to succeed John Conway. In 1973 his term expired and Frank M. Doogan was appointed to take his place.
In 1983, Nolan was honored with an honorary doctorate from the University of Alaska Juneau.
On October 24, 1991, James Nolan died in Wrangell, Alaska. He was 90.