Hoyt Wooten Bomb Shelter

...World's largest private bomb shelter



In 1960, Memphis radio and TV pioneer Hoyt Wooten was concerned about a nuclear attack and constructed the world's largest private bomb shelter.  It is  a 13-room complex beneath his Whitehaven estate and included dormitories for 52 people, a communications center, recreation room with a pool table, dining room, and a morgue.   The complex was powered by generators fueled by underground storage tanks.  When the attack didn't happen, Wooten printed postcards and opened his shelter for tours.

After his death in 1969, the estate was turned into a subdivision called Lion's Gate, and the bomb shelter became the Community Center.  It's empty now.  But the tent-like slab, which conceals the entrance, still shows above ground. 

One of Wooten's postcards

 Click on small photos to enlarge them. 



Hoyt Wooten 1963


Hoyt B. Wooten was the founder and owner of WREC Radio and Television in Memphis.  His broadcasting career began in 1919 when he started an amateur radio station.  Three years later Wooten started his first commercial radio station in Coldwater, Mississippi.  He later moved the station to the Peabody Hotel in 1925.  Hoyt Wooten made a fortune in the radio-television industry.

Your help in updating any information on this page is appreciated. If you have more information, new or vintage photos, please contact Gene Gill <gene.gill@verizon.net>  .  Thanks to Dave French and Maureen Thoni White.