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What is Under the White House?

posted: 02/27/17
by: Amber Gochoel

It's probably not surprising that the White House has a few underground amenities that can help shelter the President, their family, and other important leaders, but there is more than just a bunker under the historic house.

The White House
Public Domain
Beginning during Franklin D Roosevelt's presidency, the White House has seen a number of underground renovations. After the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, government officials pleaded with President Roosevelt to move out of the White House for safety reasons. The President declined, but allowed the addition of a bomb shelter which could be accessed by a small tunnel in the East Wing. The bunker is supposedly nuclear-proof and located six stories under the White House.
FDR
Public Domain
He only visited the bomb shelter once (for an inspection), but from that day forward it became customary for all presidents to inspect it on day one of their term. This tradition continued up until the last few presidencies, when the relevance of the shelter was lessened. That being said, this is the same bunker where Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice took shelter after the 9/11 attacks.
Today, the White House has a number of tunnels. Of course, the exact number is classified. That being said, there are many non-secret rooms underground including a florist shop, a bowling alley built during Nixon's presidency, and a laundry room.
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