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Inside Secret Nuke Bunker Built to House Entire US Congress

A Centuries-old luxury resort complete with 710 guest rooms, four golf courses, and meticulous gardens has long concealed a secret.

Buried beneath The Greenbrier in West Virginia is a mystifying nuclear bunker designed to hold the entire US Congress.

The opulent resort, nestled in the Allegheny Mountain town of White Sulphur Springs, has been popular with the likes of royalty and famed politicians since it opened in 1778.

So when works commenced on a new wing in 1958, few but a number of observant locals batted an eyelid.

An enormous hole was dug for the foundation of the new wing, and vast amounts of concrete were trucked in, along with strange materials including 110 urinals and huge steel doors.

Locals suspected the new development may have had a special purpose, but “agreed to be in on the secret” – and remained tight-lipped on the matter for 35 years.

It was later revealed that the US government approached The Greenbrier in the late 1950s, following a nuclear holocaust, and requested assistance in creating a secret bunker to house Congress.

The 720ft-underground facility – built from 1959 to 1962 and dubbed “Project Greek Island” – was a gloomy refuge with 1,000 beds, a 400-seat cafeteria, and a trash incinerator that could also be used as a crematorium.

There was also a hospital, an operating room, and a pharmacy stocked with plenty of antidepressants, as well as a Congressional Record Room that kept both files and a collection of weapons.

Measuring more than 112,000 sq ft, the two-level bunker – previously codenamed “Project Casper – is roughly the size of two football fields on top of one another.

It has four doors – the two largest weighing 28 and 20 tons respectively, and requiring 50lbs of force to open.

The blast door that divided The Greenbrier’s public area from the bunker was hidden in plain sight behind floral wallpaper.

Given how isolated The Greenbrier was, and that many of its guests were members of the political elite, the bunker could be considered “the ultimate congressional hideaway”, said the Washington Post.

Few cottoned onto its existence because it was built at the same time as an above-ground addition to the resort, the West Virginia Wing.

And because the locals who were in the know exercised their discretion.

But the bunker was never used as an emergency location, even during the Cuban Missile Crisis, despite being stocked with supplies and being completed the same year as the 13-day confrontation.

Its existence was not acknowledged by the government.

In 1992, The Washington Post wrote about the bunker in a 1992 story – and it was immediately decommissioned by the government.

In the years since, the facility has been renovated and is now used as a data storage facility by company CSX IP.

The resort remains today – as it was during the years the bunker was under construction – the biggest employer in Greenbrier County, a fact which may have contributed to locals’ commitment to secrecy.

A lifelong resident of western Greenbrier County, Trish Parker, said the bunker was the definition of an open secret.

She told Smithsonian Magazine: “People wondered about it to their husband, their wife, their brother—but they weren’t going to wonder about it to anyone else.

“They just didn’t talk about it to outsiders.”

She added: “Their father worked there (at The Greenbrier), their grandfather worked there, they worked there, their children were going to work there.

“There was the feeling that what was good for The Greenbrier was good for Greenbrier County.”

Pictures snapped by Lenox Carruth for the Civil Defence Museum before the bunker was closed to public tours show a dining hall a briefing room, a medical and dental infirmary, and a vaulted records storage room – together forming the eerie ghost of a shelter abandoned.

READ 10 COMMENTS
  • eddie says:

    Taxpayer dollars for the rich, famous and elected! What a frigging waste of money! Unreal how inept our elected officials really are!

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