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JFK's A-Bomb Bunker

Field review by the editors.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

In the icy depths of the Cold War the U.S. government decided that President Kennedy needed a nuclear survival bunker that he could reach fast from his vacation retreat in Hyannis Port. A large quonset hut on an out-of-the-way Navy base was buried under several tons of earth, and connected to the outside with a corrugated metal tube that ended in a big, locked hatch. It was built in a hurry in 1962. JFK never used it.

The bunker sat idle for years. It was bought by the town of Nantucket in the late 1970s, which turned it into a clubhouse and even built a bar inside. But for the last few decades it's been empty, serving as a bunker storeroom for the town's park trash cans. The local Parks and Rec department hopes to reopen it as a seasonal museum, using the furniture that was in JFK's other vacation bunker in Palm Beach, which closed to the public in 2017. Until then, visitors can still admire the hatch from the outside.

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JFK's A-Bomb Bunker

130 Tom Nevers Rd, Nantucket, MA
From the ferry landing head south out of town on Orange St. At the traffic circle, exit onto Milestone Rd. Drive four miles. Bear right onto Tom Nevers Rd. Drive two miles until the road ends. The round bunker hatch entrance is in the mound next to the softball field.
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