Cold War Bunkers


February, 2017


There wasn’t much time between the end of World War II and the start of the cold war.  People have different opinions regarding when the Cold War started, but most say it was around 1947. The end of the Cold War was in 1991, a whopping 44 years later. During that time, the United States and many of its citizens were prepared for an all-out nuclear war. In fact, many people built underground bunkers and stocked them with supplies and food. Interestingly, the U.S. conducted a lot of nuclear tests during the Cold War, around 1,054. But, the war itself was nothing more than two superpowers, The U.S. and the Soviet Union, flexing on each other. Afterward, many people were left with their bunkers unused and some are still standing today.

The Greenbrier Bunker

The Greenbrier is a very large luxury resort located in West Virginia. During World War II, the hotel was called upon by the U.S. government to serve as a military hospital. Once again, in the 1950’s the hotel served the U.S. by agreeing to house an underground bunker. Supposedly, the bunker was made large enough to house all of congress in case of a nuclear holocaust. The project was classified and was named “Project Greek Island”. Like all other Cold War bunkers, it sat unused and was finally decommissioned in 1992. The Washington Post ran a story that confirmed the existence of the bunker. Nowadays, the bunker is an attraction for the hotel which can be toured by guests.

Federal Reserve Bunker

Next, is The Federal Reserve Bunker which is located in Culpeper, Virgina. Supplies and food were not the only things kept in bunkers by the U.S. government. In the event that a nuclear war happened, the economy would be completely destroyed. To prevent this, a bunker was completed in 1969 to house loads of cash. In fact, the Federal Reserve Bunker held billions of dollars, enough to replenish currency for everywhere east of the Mississippi River. In addition, the bunker was also home to The Culpeper Switch, an electronic transfer system. Now, the site is home to the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, a library that holds 6.3 million pieces of movie, television, and sound recordings.

The JFK Bunker

Located on a small island in south Florida, is the lesser known JFK Bunker. At the height of the Cold War, President Kennedy had a bunker built for him and his family. Since they enjoyed vacationing in the south of Florida, Kennedy thought Peanut Island was the perfect spot. In addition, you can only reach the destination by boat. The structure was covered by the earth and layers on concrete. Also, reaching the bunker requires that you walk down a blast-hardened tunnel. Interestingly, the tunnel has a 90-degree angle, which was added to decrease shock effects from explosions. Over time, the bunker fell into disrepair, but in was restored and opened for tours in 1999.

Cheyenne Mountain Complex

In 1958 Canada and the U.S. formed a bi-national organization called The North American Air Defense Command, or NORAD for short. In essence, NORAD teamed up to monitor the skies for nuclear missiles. The headquarters was a bunker built into Cheyenne Mountain, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The bunker is guarded by heavy duty blast doors. Presently, the Cheyenne Mountain Complex is used by the Air Force for flight crew training.


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