The Westlin Bunker
Texas 105, Montgomery, Texas, Montgomery 77316 United StatesPrint this page   •   Share this page

It's not everyday that you can buy a nuclear bunker created for a dictator's family. But that's exactly what happened in a quiet corner of southeast Texas. It's not the sort of place you would expect this kind of international intrigue. There are a few stands of pine trees. The occasional pond or horse farm. An upscale exurb of Houston is nearby. But beneath this all is a multi-million dollar structure created for the powerful - and the paranoid. Ling-Chieh Kung, nephew of Chiang Kai-sheck, came to Houston in the 1960's to make money during the city's oil boom. He founded Westlin Oil and settled in the outskirts of the northern suburb of Montgomery, and like many Americans at the time, feared nuclear war. He moved acres of earth, and spent millions of dollars to ensure that he could ride out any kind of cataclysm. Today a tidy, respectable, small office building marks the site. Also on-site is what appears to be a decorative pagoda. Closer examination shows it is made from reinforced concrete, and there are sniper holes all around its exterior. That's your first sign that you're on to something big. Inside you find a tunnel that leads to a subterranean morgue. That's the second sign. A further tunnel leads to the main entrance - a massive, steel blast door designed to withstand anything man or nature can throw at it. Behind, there is an entire city in miniature. A dormitory. Eating facilities. Decontamination showers. A hospital. A jail. Generators. Water, food, and fuel stockpiles. And enough supplies to keep 1,500 people alive for 90 days. 50,000 square feet of space designed with withstand a 40 megaton blast. For decades, the massive underground complex was virtually unknown until 1987 when Ling-Chieh Kung's oil company collapsed during Houston's oil bust. The banks foreclosed, and it remained vacant for another 13 years. In 2001, Curtis Development bought the facility and began transforming it into an internet data center. It would provide some of the most secure hosing and data warehousing possible. Weatherproof. Watertight. And survivable in case of nuclear attack.

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  I supervised the construction of the-elevator house and interior remodel of the Westlin Bunker. It was fascinating, you'd have to see it to believe it. This thing had a lake on top of it but no leaks. Coolest job I ever built.

Todd Brandt - Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 @ 10:34am