John, Jackie and
Caroline enjoying Palm Beach, where they were frequent visitors
Some would say the main reason to visit Peanut Island is
to look in the JFK Bunker.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the SeaBees secretly,
and very quickly built a bunker for the President, who spent a great deal of
time at the Kennedy Compound here in Palm Beach. Although it would have been a
temporary command centre for the nation in a time of crisis, it is still
relatively small. It was constructed adjacent to the U.S. Coast Guard Station,
about 100 yards away, concealed in the woods, underground, but above the water
table. The bunker had fallen into complete disrepair, but was restored by the
Palm Beach Maritime Museum ... with some difficulty, as it had been semi-flooded
for a long period.
The first to the
bunker opened the door, walked down the corridor, at
the end turned to the right to switch the generator
on. Next was to turn the re-breather (a la submarine)
Next, give yourself a quick once over
with the Geiger-counter. If it chirped, take a good
long shower. Last one in
closed the door.
The ‘living’ room. Enough food rations for thirty people
for thirty days. The Presidential Seal was added much later as was the
As Joe, our guide pointed out – the steel-made canned water could be irradiated – so they
had a lead lining. We shook the can and could hear it inside. So keep the
President safe, but give him lead poisoning.........
At the back of the living room was a
smaller room. Three stalls each with a type of Porta-potty,
note JFK’s had a nice
Loved the comprehensive Sanitation Kit IV Instructions
set still transmits once a year
At the far end of the living room was
the emergency escape hatch. There was also a first aid cabinet.
Peanut Island at the time. The
bunker is roughly where the arrow is
The bunker on the right and
the emergency escape hatch on the left - as seen from
the helicopter pad
The helicopter pad with Lake
Worth in the background
ALL IN ALL A STEP BACK IN