This weekend I learned about “The Notch,” an underground bunker built into the side of Bare Mountain in Hadley (right up the road from Atkins Farm). It was constructed in 1958 and built to withstand an atomic blast. The Notch (aka the 8th Air Force Combat Operations Center) was one of five ground bases across the US, part of the Post-Attack Command and Control System, which was ‘a crucial component of the US mutual assured destruction doctrine.’
The roof is three feet of lead reinforced concrete under six feet of dirt, with seven+ foot thick walls. Sitting on 26 acres of land, it has its own generator and ventilation system, five wells, and storage tanks for 800,000 gallons of water. Inside, there’s 44,000 square feet of space, including a glassed-in command center.
It was decommissioned in 1970. Now Amherst College owns it and stores books there (currently, 8.5 miles of shelving, and counting). It’s still surrounded by barbed wire, and the security checkpoints are still there, too. According to a newspaper article at the time of sale, it was on the market for only $250,000 and was zoned residential (!).