In the early 1960s, Washington opened an archives building to safely store the state’s most important documents. The building, constructed as a largely underground bunker and opened just a year after the Cuban missile crisis, served another purpose not widely publicized at the time: nuclear fallout shelter in case of attack.
Today, a series of tunnels built to evacuate state officials and staff to the safety of the bunker go largely unused or serve as utility tunnels for steam and electrical lines. But in that era of heightened fear, “the mood was hysteria,” said Jerry Handfield, state archivist since 2001.
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