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FDR’s Bomb Shelter

May 23, 2017

For the past ten days I have been in Washington DC and the local historical sites in the larger area.  Much to talk about in the coming days on Caffeinated politics.  But for now how about some history that most have never heard of before.

In the event of an aerial attack on Washington, D.C., the plan was to whisk the wheelchair-bound president across the street to the U.S. Treasury.

Within days of the attack on Pearl Harbor, work began on an inclined tunnel leading from the White House to a dry moat surrounding the Treasury. From there it was just a few feet to the Treasury basement, and safety.

The Treasury is built like a tank, with immense granite foundations and sturdy barrel vaulted cellars. One of the abandoned vaults down in the basement was hurriedly transformed into a 10-room apartment suite, complete with a command center and living quarters for the president. A Treasury Historical Association newsletter recalls that “carpeting and wall drapes were installed to make the vault a bit more habitable, and food and water supplies were stockpiled for the President’s and his staff’s use.”

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