The Notch PAACS

Post Attack Command and Control System (PACCS)

The Bunker, originally built into the side of Bare Mountain in 1957, served as a secure communications center for the Strategic Air Command until 1971 when the Federal Reserve purchased it for records storage. Amherst College purchased the facility in 1989 and converted it to an archival facility. Being underground (5-20 feet down) the Bunker's temperature does not change with the seasons making it an ideal location for storing temperature-sensitive material. The air conditioning system primarily controls the humidity and keeps the office area comfortable. The floor area of the Bunker is about 40,000 square feet, roughly 1/3 the area in Frost Library. With its very high ceilings and extremely strong floors, the Bunker is an ideal location for compact shelving systems. With these extra tall compact systems books can be shelved and easily accessed at 4 or 5 times the density of standard library shelves. Today the Bunker serves as an expansion to Frost Library as well as museum-quality storage of various items.

In 1992, Amherst acquired the 26-acre site and the bunker for $510,000, or $11.59 per square foot. Although the College purchased the bunker for general storage purposes, it quickly became apparent that it could be used as an off-site storage center for library materials.

Additional Information:


The images below, taken in 2010, are of the former microwave tower site
directly above The Notch which provided communications with Westover
Air Force Base and connected the site to the AT&T Long Line L3 carrier facility
in Chesterfield, MA.  It is currently being used by a commercial FM station
some of the old military hardware is still visible.

The Notch Memories:

K Duffy:
      My father work at the Notch for many years. I don't know the specifics as it was all top secret at the time and he died at age 46. long before I ever heard of the cold war. He was an equipment installer for NET. I'm curious about your post as I had a brother that died in 1968 from a rare form of childhood cancer decribed as "chromosomal changes in a cell's DNA – can lead to Ewing sarcoma. These changes are not inherited and they happen for no apparent reason." If this is the kind of info you are searching for I'd be glad to have a conversation.

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