We’ve been profiling secret rooms and passageways in old homes, churches and even a National Monument, but this week we’re going to up the ante a bit and explore a few secret floors. These aren’t simple rooms hidden under a trap door, but rather entire floors that are hidden from public knowledge for various reasons. Of course, if you’re into conspiracy theories, your mind will be going a mile a minute trying to imagine what the purpose of some of these floors could be. Luckily we’re found some information about them and can tell you what we believe was the purpose.
The Secret Floor in the Empire State Building
First up is the Empire State Building. This one stretches the imagination just a bit, but try to bear with us here. The public is fully aware of the observation deck on the 86th floor, as well as the additional observation area on the 102nd floor. In fact, in all the public records, the Empire State Building is said to be 102 stories tall. But there is actually a 103rd floor that isn’t accessible to the general public. A quick Google search will return photos of celebrities standing on the 103rd floor and enjoying a completely unobstructed view. There is a railing, but no windows, metal grates or other means of keeping people from falling over the edge.
In fact, one article even gives pictures showing the level the floor of the 103rd floor observation area used to be and it’s hard to imagine standing outside in the elements with a railing only up to your knee or thigh level. Definitely not for the faint of heart! Since they’ve lowered the floor in the circle walkway surrounding the 103rd floor, it looks a bit more safe, but it’s definitely not as tourist-friendly as the other observation decks.
Now, just because many people are now aware of the 103rd floor observation deck, doesn’t mean they can gain access. Only VIPs are allowed up there so the rest of us mere mortals will have to settle for the photos we can find on Google. I think the most interested fact about why the floor even exists is that the original designers of the Empire State Building planned the 103rd floor to be a landing site for aircraft with the 102nd floor serving as a customs location for people entering the country. This was before the antenna was affixed atop the building so there wouldn’t have been anything blocking access. Due to the height of the building and the weather conditions in the area, it was determined that it wouldn’t be a safe landing site for aircraft so the plan was never executed. It definitely makes you wonder about why they were expecting aircraft to need to land and transport people who were immigrating to our country!
The Secret Floor in the Greenbriar Resort in West Virginia
I have to admit that this one really get the juices flowing if you’re a conspiracy theorist. This resort in West Virginia has an entire bunker beneath the west wing of a luxury hotel in the mountains that was built for the purpose of housing the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate during the Cold War. The hidden floor is 112,000 square feet and was stocked with enough food and supplies to keep the members of Congress alive for 6 months! It has a hospital, blast-proof doors, decontamination areas and it’s own water system. Thankfully it was never used as it was intended, but this is a massive project to undertake!
The bunker was built underneath the new west wing of the hotel and the coverup for the project included building a new golf course and having construction workers pose as television maintenance crews to avoid suspicion. It’s incredible to think that such massive structures are hiding in plain sight and no one knew about them until an article was written in 1992. Now the property is a National Historic Landmark, but it has remained an often-frequented luxury hotel, with as many as 26 US Presidents staying there as guests. If you’re in the area, this would be a cool place to check out. I can’t imagine how eery it would feel to see the bunker with my own eyes, but they do give tours to the public. If you check it out, you definitely need to report back and let us know what it’s like!
Next week we’ll be back with Part 2 of the Secret Floors in Buildings Across America series. Stay tuned for some more interesting historical places hiding in plain sight!