Posts Tagged With: hotel
How things have changed…. 1908…..New York. “Times Square” The old New York Times building, now encased in billboards, Hotel Astor and various theaters seen from Broadway.
An explosion tore through a hotel near SeaWorld San Diego where a couple was allegedly extracting hash oil, sending guests fleeing for safety and putting three people in the hospital, authorities said.
A 22-year-old man in the room suffered life-threatening injuries in the Wednesday explosion at the three-story Heritage Inn Sea World Hotel, authorities said. Also hurt were a woman in the room and a young man staying next door.
Julie Jordan of San Diego was sleeping with a friend’s baby in a nearby room when she felt the building shake violently, then heard a loud explosion. She ran outside and saw a shattered window and a badly injured man sitting at the bottom of some stairs, she said.
“There was chaos. I was very confused. When I came out of the room, I didn’t know which way to turn,” she said.
Another guest, Joseph Tydingco, said “It was like a disaster zone in there.”
Investigators found several boxes containing canisters of butane inside the room where the blast occurred, police Lt. Joseph Ramos said.
The butane apparently was ignited by a cigarette, Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque said. The second-floor room looked like a “war zone,” he said.
“It was a very intense and devastating explosion,” Luque said.
Hash oil is made by packing finely ground stems and leaves of marijuana plants in a pipe and pouring butane through it, said Amy Roderick, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which is leading the investigation. The liquid typically is then cooked on a stove to separate the butane.
Hash oil averages about 15 percent THC, the chief intoxicant in marijuana, according to the DEA. A drop or two is about as potent as a marijuana cigarette.
Castle Dome is located 30 miles north of Yuma. Once a thriving industrial town bustling with more than 3,000 inhabitants, Castle Dome is now a deserted place in the desert.
The Greenbrier Resort And Bunker
Welcome to Capitol Hill, the Day After — except this isn’t Washington. It’s a giant concrete box nestled into a hillside in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
The story of how the bunker was kept secret for 30 years and how it even got here is stranger than any conspiracy theory. For one thing, it was built as an addition to one of America’s most famous luxury resorts, the Greenbrier Resort in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Bankers, industrialists and government advisers all hobnobbed at the resort, unknowingly right next door to the post-apocalyptic bunker. When the Greenbriar’s official historian, Bob Conte, arrived in 1978, locals started badgering him with questions.
“Why is there a 7,000-foot landing strip for a town of 3,000 people?” he recounts to All Things Considered weekend host Guy Raz. Mostly, he told them there was no such thing — not that it was so “the government could fly their people in here in case of war and go to the bunker that’s under the Greenbrier.”
A Secret Home For The House And Senate
Thing is, Conte didn’t really know anything about it. He knew every square inch of the Greenbrier’s property. He had access to all the records and documents and historic photos of presidents and kings and prime ministers drinking mint juleps on the veranda.
But just a few yards from Conte’s own office was the reinforced bunker that would house every member of the House and Senate in the event of nuclear Armageddon.
Behind 3-foot-thick concrete walls is a space about the size of a WalMart. The air-intake system is so intricate — it was meant to filter out radiation — that it creates a vacuum-like effect when you walk in. Wind howls around you and sucks all the doors shut.
The sleeping quarters includes rows of metal bunkbeds.
“All they had for private items that you could lock up were a small drawer, right underneath the beds, you could put your personal items in here,” Conte says. “For 30 years, every one of these 1,100 beds was assigned to somebody.”
Built In An Atomic Age
To understand why and even how this bunker was built — right under the noses of America’s vacationing aristocrats — you have to go back to the mid-1950s, when a whole industry built around the construction of fall-out shelters started to take off.
In the late 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower started to worry about how to maintain law and order in America in the aftermath of a nuclear war.
“I feel impelled to speak today in a language that, in a sense, is new — one which I, who have spent so much of my life in the military profession, would have preferred never to use,” he said. “That new language is the language of atomic warfare.”
Eisenhower decided the Greenbrier would be a perfect cover for a congressional bunker. In 1958, government workers broke ground on what they called “Project Greek Island.”
It was just about a four-hour drive from Washington. Hotel workers and guests were told that the giant hole in the ground would house a new conference facility. In fact, it would — or at least part of it would.
“In the 30 years, thousands of people walked in and out of a secret bunker not knowing they were in a secret bunker — which was part of the original design,” Conte says in a room used as an “exhibit hall.”
“You would have the West Virginia Medical Association meeting here, and a lot of car companies have met here over the years,” he says.
Down another corridor is a room that was to be the floor of the House of Representatives. “There were microphones,” Conte says. “You can see the little metal attachments there on the back of the seats. They would attach microphones there because they would have recorded all sessions of Congress. There was a big communications center in here.”
Some Strange Clues
There were a few weird coincidences that Conte noticed before the bunker’s existence was exposed by the Washington Post in 1992. For one, there were many, many, MANY bathrooms. And most of them were for men.
Another thing was that both Gerald Ford and Hubert Humphrey were frequent guests of the Greenbrier when they served in Congress. Conte found out later that they would have been among the few people in the world who knew about the bunker.
Finally, there was a mysterious crew of TV technicians who worked at the hotel but didn’t work for the hotel. The company they worked for was called Forsyth Associates. As it turned out, Forsyth Associates was a cover: These were secret government employees who had to keep the bunker in a constant state of operational readiness
“For that 30 years, you had to make sure all the filters were changed, all the pharmaceuticals were up-to-date, and all the food was ready to go,” Conte says. That would be a six-month supply of food, periodically refreshed.
The Secret Moves On, But Not The Bunker
Today, part of the bunker is a tourist attraction. Another part is used as a secure data storage facility. Had it not been exposed in 1992, there’s a good chance this would still be the secret home of the U.S. Congress.
But now that secret home is somewhere else. And, like the last one, just a handful of people know where it is. Post reporter Bill Arkin is one of them, and he’s not saying.
“If you’re a normal member of Congress, my guess is that you know nothing. You really know nothing,” he says.
Built in 1898 as a jewel in Fred Harvey’s famed chain of railroad hotels, La Castaneda is one of the early Harvey Houses to be built in the Mission Revival Style. Its main facade and courtyard face the railroad tracks. A visit to La Castaneda should include a walk through the hotel’s grand lobby and dining room, both remarkably intact.
Mission style brick two-story building has a U-shaped plan with central bell tower, sign on tower, arches on wraparound porch. Signs include “18 Hotel Castañeda 98,” “Hotel Office,” “Western Union Telegraph and Cable Office,” and Richards & Pringles Famous Georgia Minstrels.
The hotel is reported to be haunted by the original owners, voices, footsteps and orbs have been noted.