While overlooking the pit from the visitor center, one can see an opening that looks like a mine adit. I marked it with a red arrow in this photo:
However, the volunteer on duty said, it's not a mine adit. It is actually the portal to a giant underground shelter, that was once fully equipped and stocked to contain the populace of Edwards AFB, Boron, and surrounding areas. I was rather skeptical of this but only said that I'd never heard of it before.
Well, I have been able to find some validation for this. For example, this article on the Edwards AFB website indicates it was ready for use during the Cuban Missile Crisis:
17,000 people is a lot to squeeze into an old mine. First question that comes to mind is how would ventilation and sanitation for that many people be handled? And the whole thing was built by 100 volunteers?! This doesn't quite add up in my mind. Anyway...While the United States prepared for potential military action, back at Edwards, a community fallout shelter was readied in case nuclear war broke out.
The shelter, located in the Borax Mine, approximately 12 miles from Edwards, was equipped with enough water, food and medical services for 17,000 people. Also in the fallout shelter was an emergency command post.
Fortunately, the United States and Soviet Union came to a secret resolution October 28, 1962 to remove the missiles from Cuba, in exchange for the U.S. removing their missiles from Turkey. As a result, the fallout shelter, constructed by approximately 100 volunteer workers, never had to be used.
It's also mentioned in the Images of America - Around Boron book:
https://books.google.com/books?id=conTW ... er&f=false
Googling also turned up a couple of newspaper articles about this. However, I am reluctant to register on newspaper.com and fork over my CC info to them so I haven't been able to read those.
Anyone here know any more about this shelter? Would be nice to see some pics from the inside of it (I think there are a few with the newspaper articles). Quite frankly, Rio Tinto should offer tours of this shelter, it would be more interesting than what they do show you!