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The Property consists of 125.25 fee acres, more or less, a 0.21 acre water line easement, and a 0.04 acre railroad spur line easement. This includes about 2,714,075 sq. ft. of underground storage facility.
The man-made cavern was formed as a result of room-and-pillar limestone mining operations at the Property that took place from 1886 to 1944, creating two interconnected mines, known as the East Mine (about 15 acres) and the West Mine (about 45 acres). An article, written in 1999, on the history of the property can be found here: www.almc.army.mil...
The developed portion of the mine, about 1,013,000 sq. ft., includes humidity controlling equipment, is fully lighted, and has a paved floor. Administrative offices, a vault, restrooms, a break room, service areas for receiving, processing and shipping, tool shops and electrical/mechanical areas are all located inside the mine. Pillars of natural limestone 20 to 30 feet in diameter, spaced 30 to 40 feet apart, support the ceiling. The interior ceiling is approximately 12 feet in height and varies from 50 to 110 feet of overburden. The Property includes a loading dock entrance to the underground area, an organizational maintenance shop area, a rail loading area, other areas and buildings, and an unpaved perimeter road.
The Atchison Storage Facility, commonly known as the "Atchison Caves" lies 50 to 150 feet (15 to 46 m) below the park under the limestone bluffs that line the Missouri River Valley. The bunker complex has served the United States for more than 60 years as a secure storage facility from World War II to the present day.
The site is known also as "Atchison Cave," which is a misnomer, because it is not really a cave, but a vast complex of underground mines. Limestone was mined from within a bluff, creating huge cave-like rooms. The total underground surface area of the complex is approximately 127 acres. It has been described as the world's largest single storage unit on one level, with floor space equivalent to a multimillion-dollar storage building. One hundred seventy-eight pillars of unmined limestone, each 20 to 30 feet in diameter, support the massive rock ceiling.