Government at the Greenbrier

With the Greenbrier being one of America’s first resorts, it’s been a popular place for US presidents for many years.

First with the Presidential Cottage, and not with the Presidential Suite. It’s a 14 room, 7 bedroom suite located at the end of one of the wings.

(not sure who was staying there….but there were men on the roof. maintenance? security? who knows…..)

It’s at the end of a VERY long hallway, and for about 4k a night, it could be all yours!

Next to it is a really nice conference room. It was empty, and all set up as if something important could happen there.

The walls are covered with sepia toned murals depicting colonial America:

There are many other murals throughout the Greenbrier showing other historic pieces of America:

The most recent indication of government activity at the Greenbrier is the West Virginia Wing. It’s mostly hidden by trees in this photo, and is built into the mountainside of the property:

During the Cold War era, government decided that they needed an enormous bunker. A bunker big enough to house all of congress (though not their wives or children) in case of a nuclear disaster. So they financed a huge cover up: the addition of a wing of ‘conference rooms’ at the Greenbrier….which conveniently covered the huge hole they dug in the ground, river of concrete they poured, and huge amounts of supplies they brought in and kept underground.

Secrets tend to come out though, and in 1992 a writer from the Washington Post wrote an article revealing the truth behind the wall:

Exceprt from the Article (found here)

“Kleisner consents to accompany me to the West Virginia Wing to prove once and for all that there is no secret site on the property. From his office it is a 10-minute walk through one lavish salon after another, and finally down a long, stark connecting corridor reminiscent of a Pentagon hallway. On the way he dismisses the story I’m reporting as “bizarre,” “fantastic” and utterly untrue.

As we approach the Exhibit Hall I point out a false wall behind which one of the blast doors is concealed. Five large steel hinges protrude from the wall. He laughs and says I’m looking at “an expansion joint” connecting the two buildings. ”

Yup. That sounds plausible. You can pretty clearly see the 5 large hinges that the report was asking about, though the false wall has been drawn back to reveal the enormous door to the upper part of the bunker.

I think the final paragraph pretty accurately sums up the feeling one gets when looking at this huge, out of place door in a luxury resort:

“And it strikes me that here, before my eyes, is the very architecture of fear. The Greenbrier’s secret lesson is the same one my generation learned so well: how to compartmentalize our lives. How to contain our fear just below the surface, secure and controlled — daily denying its existence — while above ground we manicured our lawns, concentrated on recreation and consumption, and turned up the music as loud as it would go. So too it has been with the Greenbrier. For 30 years, its guests have come to play golf, to be massaged, to bathe in the restorative waters of the mineral baths, while some of the men who repaired their televisions and brought them movies made all things ready for a darker world after this world. ” – Ted Gup

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This entry was published on January 28, 2011 at 11:07 pm and is filed under Travel. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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