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12 nuclear tourism destinations

By: Laura Moss on Jan. 9, 2012, 9:24 a.m.
Interior of the Greenbrier Resort in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Photo: Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock

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Greenbrier bunker

In 1961, a secret underground bunker was completed beneath The Greenbrier Resort in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, to protect Congress in the event of nuclear attack. The 112,544-square-foot bunker was built 720 feet into the hillside and 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, a pharmacy, and dormitories to accommodate more than 1,100 people. How did the government maintain such a massive effort? A group of employees worked undercover as the hotel's audio/visual service. 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 with the resort, and The Greenbrier Resort began offering bunker tours.