Knox Cave bomb shelter
Altamont Enterprise March 16, 1951
Cave Owner Offers Bomb Haven: Would Cost Million
(By Tip Roseberry in Albany Times-Union)
The Albany County supervisors were asked recently to relay to the Civil defense authorities an offer of Knox Cave, in the Helderbergs, for a shelter against atomic bombing. Its owner, D. C. Robinson, wrote to the board that it would require no more than $1,000,000 to renovate the place and put it in shape for such a contretemps, and that it could then easily shelter 10,000 people.
The major question involved there would be how the 10,000 people would get away up into the Town of Knox between the time of the siren’s wail and the detonation of the bomb. Also why, if they could get that far away from Albany and Schenectady, they would need to crawl into a cave at all for self-preservation. The golf course at Albany Country club would be as good.
Fact is, the idea of using caves for Bomb shelters has been pretty generally exploded. Unless they chance to be right handy to a target area and quite deep.
There was a time that the government was encouraging members of the National Speleological society to look around and report on caves having shelter possibilities. More recently, Washington has told the spelunkers that a cave—even if it were fortuitously right under a city —would not be of. much use unless it had 400 feet of good substantial rock on top. (Old salt mines are better, if you happen to have any left over.)
Although the limestone formations of the Helderbergs and the Schoharie Valley are riddled with caves, they are much too far removed from major centers of population to be of any particular value.
Mr. Robinson's Knox Cave, as we remember it, is nowhere near deep enough to turn the trick, even if he were to move it down to Washington Park and install escalators. A fast bomber could make it half-way from Moscow while you were packing sandwiches and driving up into the Helderbergs by way of Altamont. As for Howe’s Cave and Secret Caverns, the bomber could be back at home base.
Knox Cave is near enough to these cities, however, to be of conceivable use for the underground storage of records, state documents, and family heirlooms, and the like, in case the bombing danger ever becomes acute in these parts. The spelunkers have been officially advised to keep this sort of thing in the back of their minds.
Of course, the things you stored in a cave could get damp and moldy and turn into something like Roquefort cheese. But you'd have to run that chance.
The only other cave within reach which is sufficiently commodious for a subterrene warehouse is Ball's cave down Schoharie way. It is the only known cave which is under Schenectady county. Ball's has a .deep shaft and over 200 feet of inlaid rock ceiling, which ought to survive anything but a direct hit. Moreover, it is fairly clear of obstructions inside, many of its flossied?? formations having been removed long ago and installed in the American Museum of Natural History.
- Altamont Enterprise March 16, 1951