Little Town, BIG Secret

Because of an experience I had yesterday, I am writing this post about my home town.  If you read my complete profile, then you already know that I'm from West Virginia.  I have lived in southern West Virginia, in a small town called White Sulphur Springs, my entire life.  My little town is tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains. It has two stop lights, three gas stations, one grocery store (that my dad runs), and a population of 2,263. Is the description too exciting for your heart to handle? I know, I apologize.

There is one thing that I failed to mention, though.  My town also is home to the, world famous, Greenbrier Resort...also known as "America's Resort."  So what is The Greenbrier Resort?  Here's a little summary.  It was built around a water spring, a sulphur spring, to be exact.  It was opened in 1778.  Visitors came from all over to "take the waters" of the spring, because they thought it was a healing spring.  Before it was called "The Greenbrier Resort," it was known as White Sulphur Springs (hence the name of my town).  After it's popularity grew, the first large hotel was built.  The government closed The Greenbrier, during the Civil War and World War II, and used it as a hospital.   Many presidents, including five presidents from before the Civil War, and the majority of the presidents there after, have stayed at The Greenbrier.  It reopened, as a resort, in 1948. Neat, huh?  Well, it gets even "neat-er."
The Greenbrier Resort
 The government approached The Greenbrier, one more time, in the late 1950s.....and my little town kept a secret for thirty years.  What was the secret?  An Emergency Relocation Center aka: a bunker and/or bomb shelter.  The bunker was built, underground, in the mountains.  To hide the building process, an addition to The Greenbrier, was also built (above ground).  The bunker was to be occupied by the US Congress (and the President) in case of war.  It was built between 1959 and 1962.  Both of my great-grand-grandpas helped.  My town kept the secret for thirty years, "At any point during those years, one telephone call from officials in Washington, D.C fearing an imminent attack on the capitol would have turned the lavish resort into an active participant in the national defense system."  Have you gotten "goosies" yet?  The secret was exposed to the world in 1992.  Bummer.

When I was growing up, I would complain about being bored and having nothing to do. Typical.  Little did I know, that during a portion of my childhood years, I was less than one mile from a bomb shelter for the president.  When I was 16 or so, and finally understood what the bunker was, it intrigued me.  I found it immensely interesting.  So what did I do?  I went to The Greenbrier and went on a tour of the bunker.  I wish all of you could go on that tour.  It blew my mind.

The bunker is entirely disguised by The Greenbrier.  The entrance to the bunker is disguised as a delivery station.  You know, a place where tractor trailers would deliver food for the resort, etc, etc.  However, if that huge delivery door was opened, it would lead you about 500 feet underground, to a two foot thick steel door.  The bunker door.  You would have to see it to understand, entirely, what I am talking about, but here's a picture.
The Bunker Entrance (behind the delivery station door)

There are also secret passageways that lead from the bunker, to the resort.  There are a few HUGE decorated doors, disguised as walls, that open up, inside the resort, and lead to the bunker.  I've seen those walls open up....and it is surreal.  One thing I noticed on the tour?  I felt like they didn't show us everything.  I saw hidden doors that tour guide didn't open.  I felt like the bunker should be much bigger.  Maybe, just maybe, my town still has a secret?  You never know!.......
One of the secret walls/doors
Another secret wall/door

Living right beside The Greenbrier has some perks. My old high school always has prom in one of it's huge ballrooms; Shaq stays there, and  goes to my old high school and helps the basketball teams; I always have an awesome 4th of July firework show to watch; the PGA tour plays on one of it's golf courses, and because I live here, I usually find free tickets to the PGA and the PGA concerts (like Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Blackeyed Peas and Rascal Flatts); and you randomly get to meet people from all over the United States and the world.

This is my experience from yesterday.
I've seen celebrities and presidents, but yesterday morning, I met a person that was WAY cooler than any of those other guys (to me, anyway).
Tyler and I woke up late, and decided to head downtown to a little, itty bitty diner to have breakfast.  The diner is just a bar with eight bar stools.  When I said itty bitty, I meant it.  Here's a picture.
When we got there, we were the only two customers.  About ten minutes later, another couple walked in and sat down beside us.  They looked like they were in their fifties. Tyler and the man talked and talked.  We found out that they were staying at The Greenbrier.  The man finally asked Tyler "What in the world brought you from Florida to here?"  I laughed as Tyler pointed at me.  The man then asked our favorite question, "How did you all meet?"  We love telling our story to random people:) Anyway, I told the man about my cancer and the special radiation I had in Florida.  Guess what.........................
That man.  The one sitting right beside me?  He engineers the type of radiation that I had.  Seriously?  The man was shocked that he was sitting beside a girl who had proton radiation, and I was shocked that I was sitting beside a man who ENGINEERS proton radiation.  Like, he makes the special radiation....not really, but I don't know how else to describe it.  How weird/random/AWESOME is that? How many times do you get to eat breakfast with a guy who could have possibly invented the radiation you had? I was so shocked that I forgot to ask for his name!
I love my town, you never know who you're gonna run into!

If you want to read more about The Greenbrier or the bunker and it's reveal, go to these sites:
The Greenbrier Resort

Oh, and my first day of work is TOMORROW!!!!!! I'm SO EXCITED! :)

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!


The Pink Growl said...

That's so cool! I'm from a small town too and I love all the little quirks that come with that. Yours sounds really neat!

JJ said...

I just moved to a small town from Minneapolis. I love the history in the small towns. This place looks fantastic. I might have to road trip up to that resort.

That's awesome that you got to talk to someone who works on the same radiation you needed.It must have been nice to have someone talk to about that.