Was District 13 in the Hunger Games Modeled After a Real Place?

Was District 13 in the Hunger Games Modeled After a Real Place?

If you’ve seen the Hunger Games movies then you know about District 13. A place that appeared to be completely bare and long-destroyed, but actually had an entire underground facility filled with trained citizens.

While The Hunger Games is a piece of incredibly elaborate fiction, there is something about the dystopian societies that seems to draw in the crowds. Many of us haven’t lived through anything remotely similar and we seem to be fascinated with the many ways society can recover from such a disastrous situation.

In the case of District 13, the citizens went to work building both an army and a fortress meant to withstand attack. When they were discovered and attacked, the fortress did, in fact, hold. For the most part. But what if I told you there is speculation that District 13 was actually based on a real place – a military facility in Pennsylvania called Site R.

Site R is more officially called Raven Rock Mountain Complex and has been referred to as the “underground Pentagon.” The entire complex is built into a mountain near Camp David. It serves as a National Military Command Center and has some impressive communications equipment visible from bird’s eye view cameras.



Site R was originally created to be an alternate location to ensure continuity of government should a nuclear attack on the United States occur. It isn’t clear what exactly is inside of the facility, but from photos taken outside, we can see the communications equipment, 4 different entrances a helipad and several buildings spread throughout the property.

Signs near the property indicate it’s a restricted area and that it’s “unlawful for any person entering in or on the property … to make any photograph, sketch, picture, drawing, map or graphical representation of the Raven Rock Mountain Complex without first obtaining the necessary permission.”

I don’t know about you, but that certainly piques my interest! Now this location may not be completely secret since we’re talking about it, but what’s going on beneath the surface definitely is! If we’re drawing inspiration from the facilities at District 13, we could envision somewhat rustic accommodations, lots of technology and long, winding staircases leading to the bunker portion. Let’s hope they’ve got massive blast doors like District 13 had.

While people were living and hiding underground in District 13, it isn’t clear that anyone actually lives at Site R. It appears to be a location where people report to work and then leave at the end of the day – or their shift. A place like this likely has at least some staff around the clock.

Reports from 9/11 show the Dick Cheney spent time at Site R following the attack so we know that it can house high-profile government authorities. It’s proximity to Camp David makes it easy to get to and we know there is an on-site helipad so people can be easily transported directly underground if needed.



The photo above shows 2 of the 4 entrances to the underground tunnels. If you’re interested to learn more about Site R there are quite a few websites dedicated to sharing the details we know. A few of them even reference some information released under the Freedom of Information Act, but as you can imagine, most of the details about the site are classified. Perhaps the site does have more functions that just a communications center or alternate command center. As with many secret facilities, unless you have a reason to go in you’ll probably never know all the secrets hiding within.