I have visited West Virginia many times in the last few years. My friend told me about a secret place built to house Congressional members in case there was an Atomic bomb launched in the United States. The compound was built secretly and wasn’t exposed until 1992. For 30 years, this complex has NEVER been used for it’s intended purpose.
It was called the Greenbrier Resort and it was a massive bomb shelter stocked with supplies for members of Congress in case of an emergency. During its Eisenhower-Era use, The Bunker provided the following:
- Four entrances; three to The Greenbrier’s grounds and one to the main building
- 25-ton blast door that opens with only 50 lbs. of pressure
- Decontamination chambers
- 18 dormitories, designed to accommodate over 1,100 people
- Power plant with purification equipment and three 25,000-gallon water storage tanks
- Three 14,000-gallon diesel fuel storage tanks
- Communications area, including television production area and audio recording booths
- Clinic with 12 hospital beds, medical and dental operating rooms
- Intensive care unit
- Meeting rooms for the House and Senate, the Governor’s Hall and Mountaineer room
To understand why and even how this bunker was built — right under the noses of America’s vacationing aristocrats — you have to go back to the mid-1950s, when a whole industry built around the construction of fall-out shelters started to take off.
In the late 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower started to worry about how to maintain law and order in America in the aftermath of a nuclear war.
“I feel impelled to speak today in a language that, in a sense, is new — one which I, who have spent so much of my life in the military profession, would have preferred never to use,” he said. “That new language is the language of atomic warfare.”
Eisenhower decided the Greenbrier would be a perfect cover for a congressional bunker. In 1958, government workers broke ground on what they called “Project Greek Island.”
It was just about a four-hour drive from Washington. Hotel workers and guests were told that the giant hole in the ground would house a new conference facility. In fact, it would — or at least part of it would.
“In the 30 years, thousands of people walked in and out of a secret bunker not knowing they were in a secret bunker — which was part of the original design,” Conte says in a room used as an “exhibit hall.”
Listen to the audio report:
H/T – NPR
Amazing huh? What do you think about this congressional bunker? Share your comments with us below and let us know if you’ve added this place to your bucket list of things to see.