(Image: James Simard)
Bunkers, missile silos, ammo storage dumps… they’re all built with the worst case scenario in mind. They’re the last place people want to turn in wartime, but they’re also the places that are better to have when things start to go sideways. There’s a huge number of these structures that ended up not being needed at all, and now, many have been abandoned to the elements.
10. Abandoned Bunker in Barnton Quarry, Edinburgh, Scotland
The abandoned bunker in Barnton Quarry, Edinburgh, sits beneath another abandoned building that’s visible at a glance. The top, above-ground level of the site is the RAF Fighter Command Sector Operations Centre from World War Two, which is something of a misnomer as the building was constructed before the conflict. It was used throughout the war by the Air Ministry as a command centre.
Underground is the abandoned bunker, which was instrumental in organizing responses to Russian intrusions into UK airspace throughout the 1950s. Radar sites throughout the country reported their data to the bunker, which would then give the next round of orders to British air defense.
The bunker went vacant in 1958, and in 1960 it was re-purposed into an emergency governmental seat, with the goal that it would allow the government to keep functioning in a place safe from nuclear attack. Barnton Quarry remained a governmental bunker until 1983, when it was abandoned. The site fell derelict, and more damage was done by a fire in the 1990s.
Today, there are attempts in progress to restore the site, but it’s definitely an uphill battle and a monumental task. Machinery has been stolen, rooms have been looted, and every floor of the complex is littered with debris. Because of the current restoration efforts, the site is video monitored and patrolled – strictly off-limits. A favorite spot for street artists and urban explorers, those undertaking the restoration are hoping to continue a relationship with their most frequent visitors once the bunker is safe.
9. World War Two Bunker, Cape May, New Jersey
Sitting on the beach in Cape May Point State Park is a World War Two bunker that has long been left to the elements. Now, it’s almost completely surrounded by water where it was once covered with sand and hidden from the view of an enemy that lurked right off the coast of the United States.
In its heyday, the bunker was manned by a group of military men who spent their long days and nights scanning the oceans for signs that Axis forces were encroaching on the US borders. The bunker, once outfitted with fully stocked powder rooms and shell rooms, generators and 8” guns, saw the surrender of a German U-Boat one time in the war.
Today, though, ocean waves have eroded the sand that once supported the structure. It’s not only surrounded by water now, it’s also absolutely no longer safe to explore – even though there are a number of locals who remember it being quite the adventure when they were younger. Binoculars had once been mounted to the top of the bunker, and those who were brave enough to climb to the top could spend a few cents to look through and scan the horizon, much like the troops did decades before.
Local legend also states that some of the men that had once been stationed there still remain. It’s been reported that their ghostly spirits can still be seen, standing by the bunker getting some fresh air, or looking through the open gun ports, still standing guard against a war that’s been over for decades.