Re: Presidential shelter on Nantucket Island
- Bob Beauscher, of the Nantucket Parks and Recreation Dept reports that the
bunker is currently being renovated as a club house for the Nantucket Hunt
Club. He has documentation that both confirms and also denies that it was
Kennedy's bunker. Her reports that the bunker has its own water and sewer
system but no toilets.
I have attached a pair of photos that the New England COE has in their files.
In "The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963", Michael R.
Beschloss writes about the 1961 Berlin crisis (p. 271):
"Kennedy spent the weekend [Aug. 12-13, 1961] at Hyannis Port [Kennedy home
on Cape Cod, in eastern Massachusetts], where [Special Assistant to the
President for National Security Affairs McGeorge] Bundy gave him 'a
checklist of the actions that you are obligated to take if and when you
contemplate a decision on the use of nuclear weapons.' If nuclear war
erupted while he was at his summer home, he was to be rushed to the new
secret presidential fallout shelter on Nantucket Island [off the coast of
Massachusetts]. Built under a forty-five-acre submarine surveillance base,
the Navy disguised it as a 'jet assist takeoff fuel bottle storage area.'
Outside the twelve-mile territorial limit, Soviet trawlers customarily
tried to eavesdrop on communications between the presidential yachts and
the 'Hyannis White House' command post onshore."
At 01:05 PM 9/6/1999 -0400, you wrote:
>From: Albert LaFrance <ALaFrance@...>
>Thanks for the map, Mark.
>A local government web page mentions the Navy base, which is abandoned:
>If the shelter was under the same authority as the Presidential Emergency
>Facilities in the Washington, DC area, it was probably built by the
>Chesapeake Division of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (CHESDIV
>NAVFACENGCOM), which is now known as Engineering Field Activity Chesapeake
>(EFACHES). I have spoken with their Environmental Division, which
>participated in a 1988 environmental/safety study of the abandoned
>"Cannonball" relay station in Pennsylvania. They confirmed their
>involvement with what they called "the White House sites", but said all
>documentation about the sites is in the hands of the White House Military
>Office. The engineer who worked on the study said he couldn't discuss it
>without WHMO permission, and as expected, the WHMO has not provided any
>Another agency which might have relevant information is the U.S. Army Corps
>of Engineers, since they conduct surveys for possible hazards at former
>defense sites before they're sold or turned over to local governments.
>Their reports always include a history of the installation, and would
>probably mention the presidential shelter. I'll inquire about a report on
>the Nantucket base and post any information I receive.
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Thanks for the info and photos - nice research!
From the outside, the bunker appears surprisingly unsophisticated,
contrasted with the Presidential Emergency Facilities like "Cannonball"
which were also being built in the early 1960s or before, and with places
like Mt. Weather and Site R. This is just speculation, but perhaps that's
because the Nantucket bunker had to be built hastily, after Kennedy's
election and specifically for him, while the other facilities in the DC
area were planned for the long term to serve every president.
I wonder if Jackie saw the thing, and what she would have said about it!
The entrance looks like someone took the end of a boiler, cut a hole in it,
and welded on a steel plate with hinges to make a door.
Any idea what kind of comms capability the bunker had?
- I remember seeing an article with a picture of the shelter some years ago
in, if I recall correctly, one of those Sunday 'magazines' included with
the local paper. I think I remember the picture showing an inside view of
The article basically said, "Here's the previously secret shelter for the
President in the Mass. area."
I'd guess it was around 1970 or so.
'Tis terrible to get an old brain <grin>.
- Hi list,
This and several other messages like it must have been quite large,
because I didn't get them. I have a basic Juno account and my
incoming/outgoing messages are limited to 64k each.
If there's any way possible, please shorten such messages or divide them
into parts and send multiple messages. That way, us cheapskates won't be
Get the Internet just the way you want it.
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>If there's any way possible, please shorten such messages or divide themSorry your kinda screwed... Their isn't a real good way to break up
>into parts and send multiple messages. That way, us cheapskates won't be
attachments so they can be viewed via juno.