Due to its remote location on the Currituck Outer Banks, the Whalehead Club has been used in various ways for national defense. Shortly after Ray T. Adams purchased this property, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941) and the U.S. entered World War II. Ger submarines soon prowled the eastern seaboard looking for vulnerable ships. By April 1942, German "U Boats" sank half a million tons of shipping. During a one-month period, they destroyed a ship every day off the North Carolina coast. Thus, Adams leased the Whalehead Club to the Coast Guard for the duration of the war.
The Coast Guard's duties first included the rescue of merchantmen from sinking ships. Mounted beach patrols protected this remote this remote coastling from landing by enemy agents. Soon, the Whalehead Club became a receiving station for Coast Guardsmen waiting reassignment after basic training.
During the Cold War, when the "space race" between the U.S. and Soviet Union reached its peak, the Whalehead Club again contributed to national defense. The Atlantic Research Corporation, specialists in rocket fuel for military and space programs, found Corolla Island's remote location perfect for the largely classified work they carried out here (1962-1969), including development of a solid rocket fuel that gave the U.S. an advantage over the Soviet Union in the production of large booster rockets.
Picture captions are (top to bottom):
Smoke from a static-firing test. Photograph (provided for the marker) courtesy of Gene and Shirley Austin.
A test motor on a support stand. Photograph (provided for the marker) courtesy of Gene and Shirley Austin.
Fifth Naval District Barracks on Currituck Beach.