Since A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier is happening this week, we’re taking a look some of the things you can do there. Nuclear war has been possible since the 1940s, but there was a hidden spot in our backyard that would have been the safe-haven place for one branch of the United States’ government. 

For thirty years, The Greenbrier held one of the nation’s top secret relocation shelters. During the Cold War, nuclear war was imminent and President Eisenhower wanted to be prepared for the worst. 

“Eisenhower actually addressed Congress in 1955 basically saying nuclear disaster was imminent. He was really concerned and he felt that our government needed to have a survival plan in place to make sure that democracy and our country would continue on, ” Deanna Hylton, Manager of Bunker Tours at The Greenbrier Resort, said. 

As part of the plan, bunkers were built all across the nation to protect government officials, so they could survive a nuclear blast. But all of the construction needed to have a cover story for what was actually being built.

“The West Virginia wing is actually on top of the bunker, so that was released to the media, employees, guests, that The Greenbrier would be expanding and adding on this wonderful West Virginia wing. It was going to have air conditioned guest rooms, the Greenbrier Clinic, and then we’d have this wonderful exhibit hall, and a reason to have all this large construction going on, ” Hylton added. 

The Project Greek Island bunker would have housed the legislative branch of the government of a nuclear bomb had been dropped on Washington DC. Members of congress would have been brought to the secure facility by a train. Through the tunnel and behind this 30 ton concrete and steel door, Congress members would seek refuge from a nuclear bomb before the bunker was exposed in 1992. The bunker was stocked to house up to 11 hundred people for 60 days. It was never actually used, even when tensions were at an all time high during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Numerous rumors swirled around the White Sulphur Springs community as to what was really under the Greenbrier.

“The biggest rumor that spanned for 30 years was that was that the President had a bomb shelter here. So people weren’t exactly sure what the facility was, but they did know that something was going on here.  People didn’t say anything to outsiders, ” Hylton said. 

An investigative reporter from the Washington Post exposed the bunker’s location in 1992. After that, the government decommissioned the bunker and released it to The Greenbrier Resort in 1995. You can tour the former U.S. government relocation facility year round at The Greenbrier, but not before you turn over your cell phone. 

If you want to tour The Greenbrier’s nuclear fallout shelter, you can book a tour over on their website