Archive for the ‘National Register of Historic Places’ Category


Way back during the height of the Cold War, fallout shelters were built here and there, and basically everywhere. One of these places was inside the Brooklyn Bridge. What? Yes, really.

The Brooklyn Bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn and is one of those structures that just screams, “USA! USA! USA!” And what’s more “USA!” than a fallout shelter hidden in the bridge’s anchorage? (I had to look up what a bridge anchorage is, and apparently it’s the “massive masonry or concrete construction securing a cable at each end” of a suspension bridge.)

The Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1863, with several tunnels and cavernous rooms built into the anchorage at each end of the bridge. Some of the caverns were rented out to store wine starting in 1876, with the rent helping to pay the construction costs of the bridge.

Fast forward to the 50s and 60s when the Cold War was afire, and some of the rooms in the anchorage were converted into fallout shelters, complete with blankets, biscuits and other shelter supplies.

The fallout shelter was long forgotten until 2006 when some city workers found the shelter while doing routine bridge inspections.

Atlas Obscura has some great photos of the shelter:


Look at all the Cold War shelter goodies!




Fallout Shelter Finding Heroes

This is one of the coolest fallout shelters I’ve ever stumbled across, and I’d love, love, love to take a tour one day (which the guy in the video below says isn’t possible because of 9/11 security restrictions).

Take a sort of tour of the Brooklyn Bridge fallout shelter here:

Happy Atom Smashing!



The folks at 99 Percent Invisible have a great new episode up at the site.



I mentioned the USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum and Vicksburg NMP in yesterday’s post. And although there’s nothing “atomic” about the sites, they are definitely worth visiting.

The USS Cairo was one of seven Union (the North–I still get the Union and Confederate confused…I know) gunboats used for the purpose of getting control of the Mississippi River from the Confederate (the South) forces. Now, I really, really don’t care for military history, particularly of the Civil War, so we I won’t really be mentioning much more about the military aspect of the place.

But as for the coolness factor. I’m certainly game to talk about that. The USS Cairo is quite possibly THE definition of steampunk, except, you know, real. You can practically see Will Smith and Kevin Kline coming up with some fantastic contraption beneath deck. And you can visit it!



(Portions of this post originally appeared in my Adventures in Atomic Tourism at McSweeney‘s.)

Last Friday I received a press release from the lovely folks over at the Atomic Heritage Foundation noting that their website had gone live! Hooray!

So what’s the Atomic Heritage Foundation, you ask?

According to their *fantastic* website, they’re in the business of:

Preserving and Interpreting the Manhattan Project.

Dedicated to creating a Manhattan Project National Historical Park and capturing the memories of the people who harnessed the energy of the atom.

Isn’t that tremendous?!

Basically, they’re working very hard to create a Manhattan Project National Historical Park.