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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Corolla in Currituck County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Whalehead Club

 
 
The Whalehead Club Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 20, 2013
1. The Whalehead Club Marker
Inscription. Constructing the Residence

In 1922, Edward Collings Knight, Jr. and Marie-Louise LeBel Knight purchased this property for its access to excellent waterfowl hunting and to entertain guests. They named the property "Corolla Island" due to the canals and boat basin that were dredged and made the site an island.

Construction began with pilings being driven into the ground and the foundation being set. A brick-walled basement followed and included brass plumbing pipes and a French drain system. Next, the three-story house with an attic was built over the basement and included eighteen-inch-thick walls with steel beams used for framing. Workers built eighteen dormers and five chimneys and painted the exterior wood trim and cypress siding bright yellow. Copper shingles covered the roof.

An ingenious ventilation system was built into the house. The center chimney was not connected to a fireplace and served as a natural air conditioner. By adjusting windows located in the wall of the chimney in the attic, hot air was forced up and out.

The Knights chose a mixture of styles for the exterior, including a long narrow shape and gables typical of the nostalgic Philadelphia Style and bright yellow paint to give the flavor of a French country home. The most notable feature is the use of Art Nouveau, a decorative
Picture from The Whalehead Club Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 20, 2013
2. Picture from The Whalehead Club Marker
Marie-Louise LeBel and Edward Collings Knight, Jr.
style that began in Europe in the late nineteenth century that uses flowing lines and abstract motifs inspired by nature.

Outer Banks Firsts

The Whalehead Club had many "Outer Banks Firsts," including:
Basement
Elevator
Bidet
Swimming Pool
Use of both salt and fresh water taps

War and the Whalehead Club

World War II
- By the spring of 1942, our coastal waters had become a frontline in the war when German submarines sank hundreds of thousands of tons of shipping cargo at the Outer Banks. This crisis prompted the Coast Guard to lease the Whalehead Club from Mr. Adams, the property's second owner, for the rest of the war.

The Coast Guard rescued seamen and conducted mounted beach patrols. Its facilities served as a receiving station for recruits awaiting reassignment after basic training. After the war, the Whalehead Club was demobilized and returned to Mr. Adams.

Cold War - The Whalehead Club became part of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1962, after being leased by the Atlantic Research Corporation of Alexandria, Virginia. The company's prime focus at Corolla was finding a solid rocket fuel for aerospace applications, and they ultimately contributed to America's successful development of large booster rockets. Corolla's remote seaside location
Picture from The Whalehead Club Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 20, 2013
3. Picture from The Whalehead Club Marker
Coast Guard recruits stationed at the Whalehead Club
Photo provided for use on the marker courtesy of Gene and Shirley Austin
was so ideal for such work that the company purchased the Whalehead property in 1964. In 1969, the company moved its test-firing facilities and the property was sold.

Whalehead Club Timeline

1922-1925
In 1922, Edward Collings Knight and his bride, Marie Louise LeBel, began construction on Corolla Island. After three years and $385,000, their winter residence was completed.

1940
Ray Adams purchased the property and renamed it the Whalehead Club. He used the property to entertain friends, potential investors, politicians, and the public.

1942
In 1942, the Coast Guard leased the Whalehead Club and used it as a receiving station for recruits.

1957-1962
After Adams died in 1957, the property was sold to George McLean and William Witt. The home was leased to educator Hatcher Williams for a summer boarding school for boys called "Corolla Academy." The school closed in 1962.

1962-1969
During 1962-1969, the Whalehead Club was leased and then purchased by the Atlantic Research Corporation for military and space program developments.

1970-1980
In the 1970s and 1980s, different developers took ownership of the Whalehead Club tract.

1992
In 1992, Currituck County purchased the deteriorated Whalehead Club in the interest of preservation. Today, restoration continues and a variety
Picture from The Whalehead Club Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 20, 2013
4. Picture from The Whalehead Club Marker
Solid Fuel Rocket Test
Photo provided for use on the marker courtesy of Gene and Shirley Austin
of interesting and informative tours are available.
 
Erected by Currituck County Historical and Cultural Landmark Project.
 
Location. 36° 22.479′ N, 75° 49.954′ W. Marker is in Corolla, North Carolina, in Currituck County. Marker can be reached from Ocean Trail (State Highway 12) near Club Road. Touch for map. Marker is within Whalehead Park, near the bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Corolla NC 27927, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Corolla Island Bridges (within shouting distance of this marker); Waterfowl Resting Area (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Boathouse (about 300 feet away); Duck Blinds (about 400 feet away); A Nation's Defense (about 400 feet away); The Caretaker's Residence (about 400 feet away); First Swimming Pool on the Outer Banks (about 600 feet away); Welcome to a Wetland (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Corolla.
 
Categories. SportsWar, ColdWar, World II
 
The Whalehead Club and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 20, 2013
5. The Whalehead Club and Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 29, 2014, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 246 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 29, 2014, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.
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