March 15, 2024 | Allison Robertson

America’s Secret Sites


America’s Secret Sites

It’s no surprise that the US is full of secrets, many of which average citizens will never know.

In fact, there are dozens of secret sites that are buried underground, hidden behind wired fences, and locked in vaults.

Here are some of America’s highly restricted areas, revealing only some of what might go on behind closed doors.

secret site and military police split image

Trinity Test Site

Trinity Site is located on White Sands Missile Range and is closed to the public.

Back in 1945 scientists detonated the first atomic bomb known as the Jornada del Muerto (Journey of Death) at this location.

Trinity Site Obelisk National Historic LandmarkSamat Jain,  Wikimedia Commons

Trinity Test Site: The Device

The device was atop a 100-foot-tall steel tower designated as ‘Zero’. The foot of the tower was ‘Ground Zero’. Witnesses watched in horror as the deadly mushroom cloud formed.

Trinity BasecampFederal Government of the United States, Wikimedia Commons

The Farm

According to Spyscape, Camp Peary—a 9,000-acre US military base near Williamsburg, Virginia—is widely believed to be “the home of the CIA covert training facility known as ‘the Farm’ which trains CIA officers and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Clandestine Service.”

Secret government site in USASpyscape

The Farm: Training

Training at The Farm is said to include how to: flip a car, use a glock semi-automatic, parachute, operate a speedboat, use a grocery bag and duct tape to bandage a wound, and withstand torture.

Recruits after being issued gearU.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Flickr

North Brother Island, New York

North Brother Island is closed off to the public, and people can actually catch fines for crossing the boundaries.

It is a 22-acre island that once housed a tuberculosis hospital where Typhoid Mary passed.

Riverside Hospital North Brotherreivax, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

North Brother Island: Horrors

The site experienced unimaginable horror back in 1904. The General Slocum ship went up in flames as it sailed nearby, causing more than 1,000 people to perish, mainly women and children.

Asbestos-ridden buildings pose a significant health hazard.

North Brother Island From Barretto Point ParkRoySmith, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

North Brother Island: Current Use

The island is now a bird sanctuary. Visitors can be granted permission to check it out, but this permission is not given to just anyone, and it is extremely hard to get.

Snowy Egret PlumeJason Engman,  Wikimedia Commons

Mount Weather, Virginia

Sometimes known as “America’s stem”, or an “unacknowledged continuity of government facility”, this location could possibly be the US president’s bunker in case of a disaster.

But what it houses is the intriguing part.

Mount Weather, VirginiaThe U.S. National Archives, Picryl

Mount Weather: Inside

According to Spyscape, “the Mount Weather High Point Special Facility is a top-security underground facility with its own replica mini-government, police, fire department, and even laws.”

Top Congressional leaders were reportedly taken here after 9/11.

Mount Weather, VirginiaStephen Little, Flickr

Mount Weather: Documents

Rumor has it, it holds files on Americans and has a studio for post-nuclear presidential broadcasts. It is managed by disaster relief agencies including the US Army Corps of Engineers Office of Emergency Preparedness.

Mount WeatherUnited States Department of Homeland Security, Wikimedia Commons

Mount Weather: Trespassing

The facility is surrounded by tall, razor-wire fencing with signs warning: “US Property. No Trespassing.” And apparently the consequences for ignoring the signs can be severe.

No Trespassing - U.s. Government PropertyTony Webster, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Bohemian Grove, California

Bohemian Grove is essentially a campsite for the US’s most powerful men, including ex-president Bush Sr. and G.W.

The campground is restricted to anyone not invited.

Bohemian Grove Secret Side EntranceBrianhama, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Bohemian Grove: Activities

Apparently, during the first weekend camp, robed figures sacrifice an dummy to banish worries from the gathered men.

Aside from that strange event, the men partake in fly-fishing, fine dining, and planning nuclear events.

Bohemian Grove BuildingsBrianhama, CC BY-SA 4.0,  Wikimedia Commons

Area 51

Not far from Vegas, Area 51 is so secretive that the CIA continuously denied its existence until 2013.

It is part of a 368,000-acre military complex that includes the Nevada Test Site, established for nuclear weapons tests.

Area 51 Main GateDavid James Henry, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Area 51: Restrictions

Even the airspace above Area 51 is restricted. The secrecy of this site has triggered numerous conspiracy theories as to what the US is really hiding behind the warning signs, armed guards, and electronic surveillance.

Some say it has something to do with aliens.

Area 51 border and warning signX51, CC BY-SA 3.0,  Wikimedia Commons

Granite Mountain

Not far from Salt Lake City, Utah, is a secured vault hidden within the mountains that contains the world’s largest collection of genealogical records.

Secret government siteSpyscape

Granite Mountain: Records

More than 3.5 billion images from more than 100 countries are saved on microfilm, microfiche, and digital media.

The area is strictly restricted as it is said to contain “sensitive information.”

Little Cottonwood CanyonKen Lund, Flickr

The Coca-Cola Vault

This is where Coca-Cola’s secret formula is kept—under tight security.

The formula wasn’t even written down until 1919 when Ernest Woodruff and a group of investors used the trade secret as collateral for a loan to buy the company.

Coca Cola's secret recipeJoseph Creamer, Shutterstock

The Coca-Cola Vault: The Price of Secrets

The vault is secured inside the museum, where visitors can see the outside, but not access inside. The only way to get inside the vault is to buy the company—which was valued at $230 billion in 2021.

The Coca-Cola VaultNicolas Chadeville, CC BY 4.0,  Wikimedia Commons

P.O. Box 1142

This site is actually not a PO Box at all, that’s just its code name. Fort Hunt along the Potomac River, operated a top-secret camp in WWII known as: P.O. Box 1142.

Memorial to P. O. Box 1142Ser Amantio di Nicolao, CC BY 3.0,  Wikimedia Commons

P.O. Box 1142: Purpose

In the MIS-X unit, US pilots focused on learning escape and evasion tactics while the MIS-Y team interviewed German POWs in a separate area.

Fort Hunt RuinsFoolish Productions Photography, CC BY-SA 4.0,  Wikimedia Commons

P.O. Box 1142: Restrictions

The camp was originally a farm, so from the outside no one could tell what was going on inside the various buildings on the property.

Entrance to Fort Hunt ParkSer Amantio di Nicolao , CC BY 3.0 , Wikimedia Commons

P.O. Box 1142: Off-Limits

The camp was dismantled after the war, but the interiors of any remaining buildings are strictly off-limits to the public because they do not want people to discover anything sensitive.

Fort Hunt ParkAntony-22, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Forbidden Island, Hawaii

Hawaii has a secretive island called Niihau, nicknamed “Forbidden Island”. It has been privately owned since 1864.

Forbidden Island, HawaiiPolihale, CC BY-SA 3.0 ,  Wikimedia Commons

Forbidden Island: Inhabitants

Only 130 people live there, without internet, electricity, roads and other basic living amenities. The island stays in the family, who have said they will likely never allow outsiders on the island.

Niihau Cliffs AerialPolihale, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Forbidden Island: Secrets

No one really knows why the family keeps this entire island all to themselves, but it is said that many people have asked to visit, including Mick Jagger—and all have been told no.

Some believe the family has some seriously dark secrets that cannot be surfaced.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards performing as The Rolling StonesFairchild Archive, Getty Images

The Point, Hertford, North Carolina

The Point, also known as The Harvey Point Defense Testing Activity site, is run by the US Navy and the CIA.

It’s used for very specific training courses related to terrorism.

Hertford, North CarolinaIndy beetle, Wikimedia Commons

The Point: Training

It is used for paramilitary and counterterrorism courses for thousands of US officers and foreigners, including the Palestinian security forces.

In fact, it was used to train for a very important take down.

soldiers in uniformsDefense Visual Information Distribution Service, Picryl

The Point: Osama Bin Laden

The US Navy Seal Team Six reportedly trained for the raid that got Osama bin Laden at The Point, using a scale mockup of his secret compound.

Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. WinterChief Mass Communication Specialist Shawn P. Eklund,  Wikimedia Commons

The Point: Security

The location is highly secret with limited information to the public. It is surrounded by high-security fences and you can often see black helicopters buzzing in and out of the area.

Blackhawk Helicopters LandFaith Vowler, CC BY 3.0,  Wikimedia Commons

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Fort Knox is probably the most protected place in the world. It is said to hold a massive portion of the United States’ official gold reserves.

Fort Knox KentuckyMichael Vadon, Flickr

For Knox: Security

The vault in which these precious metals—along with important documents—are stored is the largest and most secure vault in the world. It is well known for its physical security measures—allowing no one to get close.

Fort Knox, KentuckyThe U.S. National Archives, Picryl

For Knox: The Vault

It is unknown what the actual vault is made from, but there are 4,200 cubic yards of concrete in the vault, 16,000 cubic feet of granite, and 750 tons of reinforced steel.

Some say the area surrounding the building is further protected with mines.

Fort Knox, KentuckyEX22218 - ON/OFF, Flickr

Langley, McLean, Virginia

Langley is officially named the George Bush Center for Intelligence, and is the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Langley, VirginiaCarol M. Highsmith,  Wikimedia Commons

Langley: Security

Many CIA secretive operations are planned here, meaning this building harbors some serious secrets. The entire area is on lockdown, only allowing people with the highest levels of security clearance to get close.

Even the parking lot is strictly secured.

The Central Intelligence AgencyThe Central Intelligence Agency,  Wikimedia Commons

Club 33, California

In Disneyland, you’ll find Club 33—a members only destination that remains mysterious to anyone who hasn’t been.

Club 33, Disney LandMxreb0, CC BY-SA 3.0,  Wikimedia Commons

Club 33: Purpose

The club was originally created as a place for Walt Disney to entertain important guests but he passed away shortly before it opened.

Club 33 FoyerSpace Mountain Mike, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Club 33: Restrictions

Members can only access Club 33 if they’ve been personally invited by a high-up member. And even then, membership fees are around the $30,000/year mark.

Also, members don’t discuss what happens in the club.

Club 33 BarSpace Mountain Mike, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Knickerbocker Club, New York City

Another hush-hush club among the elite is the Knickerbocker club in NYC. Only the world’s elite have made it inside this building.

Knickerbocker ClubKing, Moses, Wikimedia Commons

The Knickerbocker Club: Exclusivity

It’s considered one of America’s most exclusive societies. Notable former members include Franklin D Roosevelt and JP Morgan.

Franklin D. Roosevelt official portraitLeon Perskie, CC BY 2.0,  Wikimedia Commons

The Knickerbocker: Restrictions

The club is so secretive that it doesn’t have a website or any information available to the public, and members are forbidden from discussing what goes on inside with any non-members.

Knickerbocker ClubPhilippe Cendron, CC BY-SA 3.0,  Wikimedia Commons

Dulce Base, New Mexico

The legend of Dulce Base has long-standing rumors of cattle mutilation and alien abductions connected to an underground lair within the mountain range.

Jacarilla Apache Nation, New Mexico, UsaChristopher Nicol, CC BY-SA 3.0,  Wikimedia Commons

Dulce Base: Witness Reports

The only thing they allow us to know is that the site is a top-secret military base.

However, over the years, locals have reported hearing strange noises and witnessing unexplained lights emitting from the base.

Dulce Lake, Jacarilla Apache Nation, New Mexico, UsaChristopher Nicol, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dulce Base: Theories

There are numerous theories about what actually goes on here.

The most common theory is that Dulce Base is jointly run by aliens and humans, and that a conference was planned back in June 2022 to discuss the mysterious events happening more frequently in the US.

Aliens entering room with a man on a table - 2017S&G Studio, Steve Neill., CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

National Security Agency Spy Hubs

Back in 2016, publications from around the world revealed that there are several spy hubs dotted across America.

National Security AgencyCreativeTime Reports, Flickr

National Security Agency Spy Hubs: 33 Thomas Street

One of those buildings could possibly include 33 Thomas Street in Manhattan.

It has nearly no windows and is said to be highly restricted, giving access to only a handful of people with high-security clearance.

Billie Grace Ward, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Sources: 1, 2


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