Secret Hatch Hidden In Plain Sight That Leads to US President’s Apocalypse Bunker

World War Three has broken out. All across the globe, nations with nuclear
capabilities are firing off hundreds of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles, ready to turn their targets
into irradiated ash. This is, for all intents and purposes, the
end of the world as we know it – but the US government needs to do everything it can
to preserve order in the aftermath of the nuclear Armageddon. First order of business is getting the President
of the United States to a safe and secure location. Is there a secret base beneath the Whitehouse? No? Well, what about the Pentagon? Still no? Wait, what do you mean the secret presidential
apocalypse bunker is beneath the Greenbrier Vacation Resort in West Virginia? As it turns out, the Eisenhower administration
foresaw this end-of-the-world scenario. In preparation for this catastrophic event,
they built an apocalyptic bunker and fallout shelter seven-hundred-and-twenty feet into
the mountainside behind the successful White Sulphur Springs vacation resort. They were thinking bigger than just a glorified
presidential panic room, too. This 112,544-square-foot subterranean bunker
(which is about the size of your average Walmart) was designed to sustain five-hundred-and-thirty-five
members of congress, as well as government staff to ensure all occupants had a safe and
pleasant stay. People are probably wondering what exactly
goes on inside this huge bunker, and how it was kept secret from its construction in 1958
to its eventual public reveal in 1992. We’ll answer all that and more, but for
now, the sky’s on fire – and you need to get the president to safety. So, you take the Commander in Chief on an
express trip to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Thankfully, he was already in the area, giving
a rally to local supporters just twenty minutes away from the Greenbrier. The first strike is already on its way, so
you better hurry to that resort before it actually hits and turns you all into the world’s
first Fallout 76 players- complete with all the disappointment of, you know, actually
playing Fallout 76. The Greenbrier is a historic resort that’s
hosted over twenty-six United States presidents since its opening to the public in 1778, so
it’s only natural that President Eisenhower – who frequently played golf there – would
decide to put the world’s most luxurious apocalypse bunker right underneath it. It’s a race against time to enter one of
the bunker’s four entrances before the air is clouded with deadly radioactive fallout. Thankfully, being an impeccably-trained member
of the secret service, you get him there in the nick of time. You close the twenty-five-ton blast door behind
you, sealing out the bursts of nuclear fire. You’re now officially in the Greenbrier
Bunker, also referred to by the Washington Post as “The Last Resort.” President Eisenhower approved the creation
of the Greenbrier Bunker as part of his “Continuity of Government” program. As the Cold War between the United States
and the Soviet Union started to look like it might turn hot, Eisenhower felt the need
to anticipate a deadly nuclear exchange between the two superpowers. Mountainside bunkers like Greenbrier were
constructed in order to preserve some arms of government in the event of a first strike
against the United States. All the COG (cog) shelters needed to fit a
specific criterion: It had to be within five hours of Washington D.C. but far enough away
to avoid heavy nuclear fallout. It needed to be accessible by train, air,
and highway, and it had to have prior experience in working with government projects. The Greenbrier fit the bill perfectly. Eisenhower struck a deal with the owners of
the hotel – he would fund the construction of a new wing of the hotel, if the hotel would
allow the US military to build the Greenbrier Bunker underneath it. A deal was struck, and simultaneous construction
began on the West Virginia Wing of the Greenbrier Resort, and the Greenbrier COG Bunker hidden
behind it. This all came under a secret project codenamed
“Greek Island.” The hotel and the government worked hand-in-hand
to both create the facility and maintain its secrecy. These people were working with a real sense
of urgency, thinking the bomb could drop at any time. Of course, keeping a project this huge under
wraps is easier said than done. They were building a giant, complex building
underneath an active hotel with hundreds of members of staff – none of which had government
clearance. In order to reduce suspicion, they used all
of the dirt excavated to make room for the bunker to make a new golf course on the resort
grounds. Much of the resources used to build the bunker
– such as the immense quantities of concrete and steel – were delivered under the cover
of night to keep suspicion low. However, plenty of Greenbrier employees still
cottoned on to the mysterious construction going on beneath the hotel and resort. These employees – and numerous White Sulphur
Springs locals – were aware that some kind of secret bunker was being built. Rumours circulated that the bunker was intended
for the president in the event of a nuclear standoff, and they had no idea just how right
they were. In 1962, construction on the bunker was finally
finished. Just in time for the Cuban Missile Crisis
– the tense, thirteen-day standoff between the US and Soviet forces that brought the
world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon. The bunker was placed on immediate alert,
even though nobody was ever officially evacuated to it. Government workers did, however, install a
new seven-thousand-foot runway at a local airport for the secret purpose of bringing
in evacuees from the country’s capital in the event of a Russian first strike. This runway ended up mainly being used for
tourists rather than refugees of a nuclear holocaust. As the missile crisis was resolved, and the
Cold War eventually came to a close, the Greenbrier Bunker thankfully never saw official use for
its intended purpose. President Eisenhower died long before he’d
ever be able to make good on his investment. Letters from the Eisenhower administration,
revealing the paranoia and genuine fear of the possibility of nuclear annihilation, were
only released to the public in the last ten years. But Eisenhower’s paranoia just saved your
life. You, the President, and a select group of
government officials are the chosen few who’ll wait out the end of days in style. Thanks to the hard labour of Eisenhower-era
workers, you’re now surrounded by five-foot-thick reinforced concrete walls. Far from the cramped, dingey setting you probably
picture when you hear the word “bunker”, the Greenbrier Bunker is extremely well-appointed. During your possibly rest-of-your-life stay
here, you’ll be able to take advantage of the state of the art (for the early sixties)
decontamination chambers. That’ll likely get…most of the radiation
off of you. And that’s better than having all of it,
right? In actuality, all of the technology in the
Greenbrier Bunker is current, circa 1992. Including the decontamination chambers. This is because – during the thirty-year
interim between the bunker’s creation and its decommissioning in 1995 – government
workers who maintained the base in secret also continually updated the technology within. For the most part, a lot of the technology
in the base would be recognisable to the modern secret service worker, engineer, or government
official. The conditions of the subterranean vault still
seem pretty bleak compared to the West Virginia Wing built above it. The new wing was built with eighty-eight extremely
luxurious suites, a state-of-the-art medical centre, and a hall for trade shows. The new wing was built into a large hill that
was then entirely hollowed out to make room for the bunker. While you may be tempted to feel jealous of
the people in the luxury hotel above you, you really shouldn’t. If they weren’t vaporised in the initial
blast, they’re probably about to die a slow and torturous death from radiation poisoning
or be ripped apart by feral ghouls or… (loud, dramatic sigh) ‘the scorched’- seriously,
Bethesda, you skipped Fallout 5 for that? At least in your bunker you’re safe from
nuclear bombs and regular old Bethesda video game bombs. When you move further in, you’ll find the
eighteen dormitories, designed to house over a thousand government officials and employees. There’s also a built-in power plant with
water purification facilities, fixed to three huge water tanks capable of holding over twenty-five-thousand
gallons of water, each. That should keep you from dehydrating a few
hundred feet below the storm of nuclear hellfire. But it doesn’t stop there. Eisenhower and the people working under him
were fully aware that the occupants of the Greenbrier Bunker would be in there for the
long haul, whether it was him or a future president. As a result, they went all out on the bunker. There’s an additional three fourteen-thousand-gallon
tanks for fuel storage. Eisenhower also had the bunker fitted with
a communication department, for sending messages to whatever’s left outside via the Presidential
Emergency Broadcast System. The communication department was fitted with
both audio and video production areas, so the president can continue to put out presidential
addresses even though the majority of the country outside are likely all dead. If people happen to get sick during your tenure
in the Greenbrier Bunker, Eisenhower’s architects and planners thought ahead for that, too. The bunker has a clinic with twelve hospital
beds, as well as the resources for medical and dental surgery. However, if you did manage to escape into
the Greenbrier Bunker with a sizeable portion of congress, only having twelve beds could
begin to present an issue. Congress members, on the whole, aren’t exactly
spring chickens. The average age for a member of the US House
of Representatives is 57.8 years, and the average age for a US Senator is even older
at 61.8 years. These numbers are a little concerning, depending
on how long you want Eisenhower’s planned “Continuity of Government” to last in
the Greenbrier Bunker. Thankfully, the bunker does have a pharmacy
and an intensive care unit, to take a little of the stress off the medical department. However, this does raise one of the key concerns
of the Greenbrier Bunker (and any fallout shelter in general): These resources are finite. While the bunker also has a laboratory, whether
this lab could synthesise enough medication to keep up with the demand of the ageing bunker
population is an open question. Lucky for you, you wouldn’t actually need
to keep them in the bunker forever. Unlike the radioactive blasts produced by
nuclear reactor overloads – like the Chernobyl reactor in Pripyat and the Fukushima Daiichi
nuclear disaster – the half-life of radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons is significantly
shorter. By the time that the intended six-month stay
in the bunker is completed, the fallout outside will have fallen below dangerous levels of
radioactivity. It’s likely that the infrastructural damage
outside will be massive, but the air will at least be breathable. But I’ve got some good news and bad news,
before we get ahead of ourselves here. The good news is that you probably won’t
need to worry about depleting those resources during your stay. The bad news is that this is because over
ninety percent of congress is probably dead. This is because of a fundamental oversight
that actually got the Greenbrier Bunker decommissioned in the mid-nineties. While the Eisenhower administration and beyond
had the foresight to continually update technology inside the bunker, they didn’t have the
foresight to consider how missile delivery technology would adapt alongside it. When the Eisenhower administration decided
on their location for the bunker using the “five hours from Washington” principle,
this wasn’t a problem. They anticipated nuclear bombs delivered by
Soviet bombers flying over the North Pole, which was the accepted method of Soviet attack
at the time. This would give US officials several hours
to escape the danger zone and get comfortable in the bunker. However, like a reliable pizza delivery service,
an ICBM can now reach Washington from Russia in thirty minutes or less. As a result, if the nukes start flying and
you’re not in the immediate vicinity of the Greenbrier Bunker, it’s a sad day for
you. You’re just lucky the Commander in Chief
happened to be in West Virginia at the time, or you would not have gotten him to safety
in time. The downside is, you’re also going to be
working with reduced technological capabilities – seeing as the military removed all classified
technology in the nineties when the bunker’s obsolescence came to light. These days, the federal government technically
no longer owns the Greenbrier Bunker. It’s owned by the Governor of Virginia,
and hosts ninety-minute tours for over fifty-thousand tourists every single year. Despite the base no longer being a well-kept
military secret, taking pictures inside the bunker is completely forbidden. But that’s because large portions of the
bunker have now been leased out as data storage, so even if congress doesn’t survive the
nuclear blast, the corporate data will be just fine. Thanks for watching this episode of The Infographics
Show! Curious about more weird, hidden bases and
bunkers across the globe? Why not check out “Why Did The Nazis Have
A Secret Base In the Arctic?” and “The President’s Escape Plan If the US is Attacked.” Better hunker down and get watching!

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