The Underground Bunker
Fort McAndrew, Argentia
Located near the intersection of Marquis Ave. and Charter Ave. in the area formerly known as Fort McAndrew is one of the largest underground structures built at Argentia. There seems to be a general acceptance among many that this enormous 2 storey (some say 3 storey) bunker was used as a fully functioning hospital. But after receiving an email from a local in the area, I became informed that this large, fortified bunker was actually used as a Command and Control (CNC) center for the two coastal defense batteries nearby.
I went on to learn that the command staff would have worked out of this bunker and that it was built in a bunker to ensure it would remain operational during emergencies. Although there may have been a medical centre located here as well it was not its primary purpose.
The bunker is about 50 metres long and extends into the hill about 20 metres. There are two entrances side by side of each other. After entering there is a long hallway that leads perpendicular to the entrances. On the back side there is one large room and on the other there are several smaller rooms.
Walking to the far right after entering there is a set of stairs that bring you up almost three storeys to a "look-out battery" located above the bunker overlooking the base.
From the look-out position on top of the bunker you get a great view of what once was America's largest overseas military base.
Why is it Known as a Hospital Bunker?
I do not know why the bunker was ever called a hospital bunker. Nothing inside or outside it would bring me to that conclusion. But none the less their are still many out there who believe this.
The hospital bunker was believed to have been built by the US Army during the early days of construction of the base. The hospital bunker was to act as a fortified hospital that could withstand an air or sea attack and function in the event of an attack. On the "not-so-reliable" geocaching website, a description of the bunker goes:
“In 1941, the U.S. Naval Base in Argentia commissioned a 100 bed hospital for the operating base. It was fully functional and had all the facilities of a complete hospital, with the added protection of being in the ground to keep it safe from bombing. The hospital is said to be three stories, although only the first floor and lookout point is available for exploration today.”
Sources & Further Exploring
Ray, W. (2016). US Military Bases in Eastern Canada: Harmon, Pepperrell and Argentia. London, ON: HMS Press.