Remember when nuclear fallout bunkers were a thing? Ok, I don’t *actually* remember… but I still kinda think they’re cool. They’re like a less lame and more useful version of a man cave. Back in the day, they were actually pretty commonplace, and it was especially important to make sure that US leaders and officials had easy access to shelter in the event of a nuclear detonation.
President John F. Kennedy was known for vacationing in Palm Beach so much that they nicknamed his compound the “Winter Whitehouse”… but few knew that during the height of the Cold War, he had a secret bunker built under a manmade island nearby. Now, you can climb inside the hidden shelter yourself.
The bunker, which was built in just 10 days by the SeaBees, could hold up to 30 members of the Kennedy family and key White House staff, was stocked with enough food, water, and supplies to last for a month, and could act as a temporary command center for the entire country. The entrance was hidden in a thicket of trees, and to even make it inside, you’d have to pass a radiation quarantine. In the event that the secret bunker became not-so-secret to any invading force, a hidden passageway at the back of the bunker led to a helipad from which the president could be whisked to safety. So… the bunker that was built in 10 days is probably nicer than my apartment.
As far as anyone knows, the bunker never had to be used (except to time how long it would take Kennedy to reach it – 10 minutes, if you were wondering), and by the time it was disclosed to the public in 1974, it had long sat abandoned. When it was reopened for the first time in 20 years, it was discovered to have severely flooded, destroying most of what was left inside.
Fortunately, in 1995, the Palm Beach Maritime Museum leased the land and has since set about restoring the bunker to its original state. Today, you can take a boat out to the man-made Peanut Island and experience the confines of the presidential fallout shelter for yourself. Honestly, it does look like it would make a pretty sweet man cave. Just sayin’.