Peanut Island

The Cold War Comes to North Palm Beach

By Ruby Lynn Holden, North Palm Beach Village Historian

The JFK Bunker on Peanut Island

It was necessary that few knew of the Presidential shelter on Peanut Island intended to protect the President and his family in the event of nuclear attack. Construction of the shelter began shortly after the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

At a cost of $97,000, the shelter was built by the Atlantic Fleet Seabees. Behind the heavy steel door, it is essentially a 45-foot long corrugated steel tunnel. The structure included air filtering equipment and a decontamination room. The pantry was stocked with dehydrated foods intended to ensure the survival of up to 30 people for about 30 days. After the death of JFK the Secret Service removed all the equipment.

Today the bunker is in considerable disrepair. The Port of Palm Beach leases the bunker to the Palm Beach Maritime Museum, which is responsible for the repairs.

The County is considering turning the site into a park, as it is a popular tourist attraction.


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