Hidden tourist attraction in US

GUESTS staying at America’s oldest and most luxurious resort during the Cold War era from the 1960s to ’90s, had no idea they were cavorting above a bizarre subterranean world that could have come straight out of James Bond, the fertile mind of Graham Greene, Hollywood’s Dr Strangelove or maybe even TV’s M*A*S*H.

Because below them was a cavern with concrete walls 1.5m thick, chambers big enough to secrete the entire US Congress and House of Representatives and senior staff – and the ancillary services they would need to govern the country in the event of an A-bomb attack on America.

The Greenbrier Resort at Sulphur Springs in West Virginia, 400km south-west of Washington DC, opened as an inn in 1778 for those wanting to "take the waters" from its mineral-rich pools and springs.

Over the years it’s grown into a vast five-star palace with banks of restaurants, cafés, bars and lounges, casinos, live-show theatres, and limitless sporting opportunities sprawling more than 2600ha (6500 acres.)

But it was in the 1960s that it entered its clandestine role, one conceived by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as "the secret White House", nestled in the backwoods of the Allegheny Mountains.

Few were briefed on what was to happen, and those who were sworn to State Secrecy.

Everything and everyone had a code-name – from President Eisenhower whom the Secret Service dubbed "Providence" – to the so-called "management company" that would maintain this subterranean national secret, and whose bland cover-name for 30 years was Forsythe Associates.

The actual project itself was code-named Project Greek Island, but was usually just called The Bunker.

For weeks concrete trucks arrived around the clock, pouring 1.5m thick floors, walls and ceilings. Then a steel blast-door a half-metre thick and weighing 25-tonnes was brought in on a reinforced railcar from Ohio to safely seal the whole complex in the event of an A-bomb attack on Washington DC’s White House.

It grew and grew to the size of two football fields stacked on top of each other, with every major emergency need being quietly installed, and for 30 years from 1962 constantly maintained for instant use. And, to protect its cover as just a part of the Greenbrier Resort, the two meeting rooms for the Senate and House of Representatives – the Mountaineer Room and Governor’s Hall, together with a 5000sq m area where their staffs would work and dubbed The Exhibit Hall – were actually hired-out through the resort for corporate meetings, exhibitions and parties.

Their participants had no idea they were actually gathering in one of America’s most top-secret locations ... nor that carefully concealed around them were military-style dormitories that could sleep more than 1100 Senators, senior officials and technical support teams, a mini-hospital, pharmacy, cafeterias, storerooms of freeze-dried foods with 10-year use-by dates, a power-station, 64,000-litres of diesel fuel, water and air purification plants, radio and TV broadcasting studios – the latter with a back-drop wall showing The White House dome – and fitness rooms.

Its own telephone exchange linked The Bunker with the outside world, and a fire-proof Congressional Records Room could store papers in the event of Congress and the House having to meet, there was a small armoury… even a chaplain’s room for those fearing the end was nigh. And an A-bomb decontamination room… chillingly down the corridor from which was the "Pathological Waste Incinerator" – a crematorium for those who may have fatally succumbed to radiation.

In 1992, The Washington Post ran a bombshell story exposing Project Greek Island. It was decommissioned soon after and in 1995 opened by the Greenbrier for public tours 

STORM IS COMING: The entire Northern Rivers will be impacted

Stormy weather is coming this way.

Northern Rivers is in for some interesting weather today

Racist, 'hateful' vandalism angers Ballina community

Police are appealing for information about racist vandalism painted on footpaths and a fence at a Ballina address. The incident is believed to have occurred on the evening of October 24 and the morning of the 25th.

People are "angry and frustrated" by the hurtful words

'Numerous leads' in horrifying streep strangling

Petra Lovett of West Ipswich is devastated after one of her pet sheep was killed and another is missing after a dog attack. Robbie is still missing.

Investigations are ongoing after $5000 reward call

Local Partners

Car chases and ducks, all in a day's work at cafe

ANYONE who has travelled the Pacific Highway between Sydney and Brisbane would know of the Parkside Cafe at Woodburn.

Stunning orchids on show in Lismore tomorrow morning

ONE of the magical orchids in show at Lismore Central at this year's Northern Rivers Orchid Species Society annual show.

Nature's most exotic works of art on show

Ten things to do this week

A photo from the 2015 Pink Halloween event, hosted by Lismore charity Jodie's Inspiration.

Halloween, shows, music, art and more

Exterminate! Exterminate! The Daleks are coming

BCC Lismore will be screening a limited-run theatrical special presentation event of Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks animated series from Saturday, November 12.

A much celebrated Doctor Who story is coming to Lismore and ByronBay

Mariah Carey and James Packer discussing relationship

Mariah Carey and James Packer are discussing how to work things out

January Jones: Take time away from your phone

January Jones needs time away from her phone

Mel C won't return to Spice Girls for daughter

MEL C is adamant she won't reunite with the Spice Girls

60's British rock legends to return to Australia

The Troggs will play a string of dates across Australia in November.  Photo Contributed

We all remember 'Wild Thing' and now you can hear it live.

Depp jumps ship from agency of 25 years

Johnny Depp has signed to CAA after 25 years with the United

Orlando Bloom 'buried' Katy Perry in birthday flowers

Orlando Bloom "buried" Katy Perry in flowers for her birthday

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!