Inside Congress' Secret Nuke Bunker

For 30 years, this shelter in W. Virginia was ready to keep gov't running
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2011 7:22 AM CDT
Congress' Secret Bunker Was Hidden for Years at Greenbriar Resort in West Virginia
A secret nuclear bunker in West Virgina was designed to keep government functioning after a nuclear war or other catastrophe.    (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

For more than three decades, one of America's most famous luxury resorts was also home to a secret nuclear bunker for Congress, and now NPR takes a look at the secrets of the Walmart-sized shelter surreptitiously tucked into the hills of West Virginia. It's hidden in plain sight in the middle of the swank Greenbrier Resort, encased in 3-foot concrete walls, and has a replacement House floor, a large communications center, and 1,100 beds, each assigned to a specific politician.

Even the resort historian, Bob Conte, says he didn't know anything about the shelter for years, but locals would ask him, "Why is there a 7,000-foot landing strip for a town of 3,000 people?" he recalled. The bunker was decommissioned soon after its existence was revealed in 1992 by the Washington Post, and today it serves as a tourist attraction. Of course, there is a new secret bunker for Congress, so that government can carry on after the rest of society is blown to bits, but few know where the replacement site is. "If you're a normal member of Congress, my guess is that you know nothing. You really know nothing," says the reporter who revealed the original bunker's existence. (More nuclear fallout shelter stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.