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Best U.S. places to survive the apocalypse

By: Laura Moss on Aug. 13, 2010, 1 p.m.
Greenbrier Resort nuclear bunker

Photo: The Greenbrier Resort

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The Greenbrier Resort

The Greenbrier is a luxury resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., but it’s not the hotel’s lavish amenities that make it ideal for waiting out the apocalypse. It’s the massive underground bunker beneath the property.

The 112,544-square-foot bunker was commissioned in 1958 to house Congress in the event of nuclear holocaust. The facility, which was built 720 feet into the hillside, was completed in 1961, and the Cold War government immediately stocked it with survival supplies. The bunker had three outdoor entrances and one secret entrance inside the resort — a 25-ton blast door. It also featured decontamination chambers, a power plant, water storage tanks, a clinic with operating rooms, an intensive care unit, a pharmacy and dormitories that could accommodate more than 1,100 people. How did the government upkeep such a massive survival effort? A group of employees worked undercover as Forsythe Associates, a company hired by The Greenbrier for audio/visual services.

The location of the facility remained a secret for more than 30 years until The Washington Post exposed it in a 1992 article. At that time, the government ended its lease agreement with the resort, and The Greenbrier began offering bunker tours. Although the underground bunker is no longer stocked with survival supplies, it makes an ideal apocalyptic hideout — especially in the event of nuclear war.