Mental Floss

The Congressional Bunker

Chris Higgins

In 1959, construction began on a top secret bunker, hidden underneath an expansion wing of the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. The bunker was designed to hold up to 1,000 people, including the entire U.S. Congress, in the event of a nuclear war. The bunker's concrete walls were three feet thick and the complex included dormitories, a medical clinic, power and water plants, a television studio, and even a crematorium.

In 1992, a Washington Post story blew the figurative doors off the bunker. The article contained extensive details about the bunker -- surprising since it was still top secret at the time. After the article's publication, the Pentagon decommissioned the bunker, presumably since their cover was blown. Today, the Greenbrier offers guided tours of the bunker -- see links below for more information and a photo tour. (Pictured at left: one of the blast doors to the bunker.)