In March 1997, a several members of the Cold War Studies program drove down to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, to the luxurious Greenbriar Hotel. Although the hotel itself was quite a spectacle (you have to see it to believe it), what interested us most was what lay under the West Virginia wing: the Congressional bunker. Built between 1959 and 1962 and maintained until the 1990s, this facility would have served as the center of the United States government in the event of a nuclear war. Assuming of course that members of Congress could be informed and transported to the site (250 miles and 5 hours from Washington DC) and would leave behind their families (the bunker could only house 800 people). This photo shows the top page of a set of blueprints for the bunker. For the full story about the Congressional Bunker see the story by Ted Gup in the Washington Post, "The Ultimate Congressional Hideaway."

For information about touring the bunker, see the info at the Bureau of Atomic Tourism.

  This photo shows the main exterior entrance to the bunker. The white sign on the door reads "Warning: High Voltage" and was designed to discourage curious visitors and townspeople from exploring. The bunker can also be accessed from the hotel.

This is the corridor leading from the main door to the bunker facilities. The hall is wide and high enough to accomodate large trucks and has a turnaround space halfway down its length. C-rations and other supplies were stored on a low shelf along the length of the corridor.

 


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