Created By: Historical Society of Topsail Island
Continue walking on Davis Avenue toward the Ocean. You will see the Jolly Roger Hotel. Behind the building furthest to the south is the Operation Bumblebee launch pad. It is now used as a patio for that building. Please do not walk there as it is for the use of the patrons of the Jolly Roger Hotel. Instead, enjoy the pictures.
This was the original launch pad where the missiles that were being tested were launched. Two hundred missiles were launched toward the north during 1946-1948. Nine three-story cement block towers were built all the way up the island. You probably have seen the towers on your trips up and down the Island. Each tower held monitoring and photography equipment to measure elevation, speed and distances traveled. The information was relayed back to the control tower which you will see later on your walk. On launch day, the fuel was loaded into the missile in the Assembly Building. The missile was trundled to the launching platform on a rubber-tired dolly to minimize the risk of explosions. The launches were unpredictable and could be very scary when something went wrong.
There was a bomb-proof shelter 10x10x10 of reinforced concreate 1 foot thick by the launching pad. The first building of the Jolly Roger Motel was built on top of the shelter which is now used for storage.
The building directly in front of you which houses part of the Jolly Roger Motel was built as a roller rink and arcade in the early 1960s. It was named Fun In The Sun Pavilion. This was converted into the Jolly Roger Motel in 1966. The current skating rink will be on a further stop.
The Jolly Roger Pier was one of 10 piers on the Island. Now only 3 remain - one in each town. Fishing was and is a major attraction of Topsail Island.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Historic Top Secret Walking Tour of Topsail Beach