Posts Tagged ‘Fallout Shelter’

brooklyn-bridge

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:

brooklynbridgebunker

Look at all the Cold War shelter goodies!

fallout-2a

Supplies!

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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!

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Greetings, Kids!

You’ve probably noticed an uptick in all things nuclear. What with the Iran Nuclear Deal, the semi-annual Trinity Site tour, the Manhattan Site National Historical Park rolling along and the always fun North Korea bopping around on the horizon, you can’t hardly spit without it hitting something nuclear. So, I thought we’d take a look at modern fallout shelters rather than the normal Cold War era fun we have.

So what are you to do?

Well, one path you could take is to build your very own fallout shelter. And lucky for you, the Internet has a wealth of information on that topic! Wikihow in particular has you covered with this, I don’t know if I’d call it informative, but…interesting (?) “article” covering the ins and outs of building your very own fallout shelter. It even has pictures!

So let’s take a deep dive into Wikihow’s “How to Build a Fallout Shelter” piece, shall we?

OK!

HowToBuildAFalloutShelter

So, this is the introductory paragraph for the piece. It’s kind of…scary? And not because of the actuality of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons existing, etc., but because of the Doomsday-ish tone the whole thing takes. And, dude: when you include other apocalyptic possibilities from movies, like an asteroid hitting Earth, you slide all the way into crazy prepper territory which kind of eliminates your credibility. At least with the non-nutjob set.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Wikihow style, each entry is divided into helpful Steps. Here’s the first step for building a fallout shelter, complete with a zombie cross-eyed guy doing the thinking, which definitely sets the tone as totally legit for the whole piece. The first step also keeps things totally light with the, “Keep in mind that this decision will either kill you or keep you alive” to close out the paragraph. No pressure though.

Step1

Step 2 asks the reader to “print out the instructions for the shelter you want to make and cross out each step when completed.” So…this How to Build a Fallout Shelter piece isn’t actually going to tell me how to do that? I don’t really know…

Step 2 also helpfully includes a scary image of a fallout shelter “plan” complete with an entirely too large image of a gas mask, which, wow, that’s really out of scale. Also, if you’re putting this much effort into a fallout shelter, and not just building one for funsies, please find a better design than “POLE COVERED TRENCH SHELTER.”

Pole Covered Trech

Now the article breaks into a subheading for the POLE COVERED TRENCH SHELTER. The author helpfully explains:

Basically, the idea on this one is to dig a trench, then place poles/logs on top of it and finish the combination with some soil/earth on top.

Done and done.

The first sub-step involves gathering your tools (you know, shovels).

The second sub-step goes a little over the edge into prepper/postapocalyptic dictator territory telling readers to “assign different tasks to different individuals according to their strengths and weaknesses.” Because you are The Decider.

The next several steps are trench-digging basics like, don’t dig in an area with flammable stuff (kind of like don’t put in a flowerbed without calling the utilities sorta thing), put the pile of dirt at least five feet away (no idea why), and the deeper the trench, the better the radiation protection. You know, your basic stuff.

Once we’ve dug our trench, we move on to covering it with logs and cloth or leaves. Then when we’re “absolutely positive that there is no way for the dirt to get into the living space, place the soil you dug out (and is five feet away) on the logs.”

The next step addresses the toilet issue, and includes this handy image (which I’m 95% sure is unachievable and the stuff of scifi in a dirt trench).

watercloset

Then you’re supposed to make some beds: “If your skills permit, make a bunk bed.”

Step 11 helpfully explains:

Since no one likes to be trapped inside a fallout shelter if a fire happens, make sure you have at least two different exits in your fallout shelter.

OK!

And…that’s it! BUT. But…the best part of this article is the Tips, which start out crammed together in some sort of James Joyce does the Cold War paragraph. Have a look:

Tips

I mean, this tip has everything. Soil conditions, e-book fallout shelter plans, missing punctuation and typos, shout-out to “scroungers,” tips for dealing with labor, warnings about the danger of re-bar (it’ll kill you!), you know, all the basics.

After the great Tips section, we have another Paragraph 1 (I don’t know either), listing things you should include in your fallout shelter. My favorite is the First-Aid kit, which should be “extensive” and “not just the ‘taking the kids to the park’ set.” The author helpfully lists the First-Aid kit recommended by the US Department of Defense (from god knows what year), which is honestly pretty basic.

His HIGHLY (his emphasis) recommended section includes things that sound “fun” and you “may need a doctor’s clearance for a couple of these.”

HIGHLY

So, I should just go to my doctor and ask for Tincture of Opium and a rando narcotic then? If she asks why, I’ll just tell her it’s for my fallout shelter. Should be no problem.

After the HIGHLY recommended list, the author includes other stuff you should have in the fallout shelter. My favorite is “Smoke signals” because these are definitely a physical object I can stock in my shelter. Or is he talking about the Sherman Alexie novel and just bad at punctuation? Either way.

Also good on the list of stuff is the “Radio and ‘walkie-talikes'” bullet:

walkietalkies

For national security, guys.

The article helpfully rounds-up some Warnings and Things You’ll Need to tie up the whole shebang.

warnings

Remember to Practice Trench Safety, kids!

Until next time!

Happy Atom Smashing!

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Today’s fallout shelter looks like it couldn’t protect squat. I mean, I’ve seen Lego creations that could probably do better.

family-bomb-shelter-1952

That being said, the construction of this shelter looks like something I could handle! Which if I’m being honest, the only reason I want to buy a house with a yard, is so that I can construct a shelter. (For funsies, not for tinfoil hat, “prepper” reasons.)

Let’s step away from the shelter’s probably dubious protection ability, and turn instead to the occupants. First of all, Dad looks like he got caught doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing. What were you doing in there, “Dad,” if that’s even your real name? Is that your real family? Or is that the secret one you have in Waukegan? Okay, okay–maybe they are your real family. Is that your Betty Page-ish wife? Or is she the hot babysitter, or passerby you whisked away to your fallout shelter when the siren screamed. Because she sure looks close in age to the oldest son. Oh your first wife Marian died, and she’s your new wife? Okay, maybe that’s true. But didn’t the police think her death was “suspicious?” No? My bad. Anyway, Betty Page there sure is a looker. I really dig her style. Glasses and great bangs. But poor her! You saddle her with the care of the four munchkins, I’m guessing, and she’s probably even the shelter builder. Am I getting close, “Dad”? Oh she takes plenty of ‘ludes to deal with the kid sitch, huh? She better pack plenty of those when all of you head for that metal can shelter, you’ve got there. Packed like sardines, amirite?!

Sounds like you’ve got it all figured out, “Dad.”

If you’re interested in more photos like this one, head over to the Wisconsin Historical Society, and take a gander and this and other fallout shelter-ish material. I have to say, I love the tone of the page, which is kind of, “we’re all going to die, or at least are better off doing so, but we better make the public hopeful so they’ll let us spend more money on nukes.” Or I think so anyway.

Until next time!

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greenbrier

Fallout Shelter Fridays! is on vacation this week, so take a look at the fantastic fallout shelter (Congressional!) at The Greenbrier! You can tour it!

http://www.greenbrier.com/Activities/The-Bunker/Bunker-History.aspx

Happy Friday!

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So you’re getting married. Congratulations!

Where are you going on your honeymoon? Niagra Falls? A safari? Grand European tour? A…fallout shelter?

Mininsons_1

Although it may not seem like the ideal place to start a life of wedded bliss, in 1959, Maria and Melvin Mininson began their bliss doing just that–spending their honeymoon in a fallout shelter.

Now why on earth did they do that? Well, turns out the couple entered a radio contest/publicity stunt sponsored by Bomb Shelters, Inc., (because of course it was). Contest winners would spend two weeks in a fallout shelter, and if they made it, they’d get an actual honeymoon in a tropical local. And the Mininsons did great! They made it through the contest like champs, save a couple of uses of the first aid kid, thanks to some can-opener carnage that befell Marvin’s hand.

Fallout Shelter Dinner

Psst! I wrote a longer, prettier article about the fallout shelter honeymoon among other things in the Apocalypse issue of Lucky Peach. It’s paper only, so you’ll have to go old school and find a copy!

Happy Atom Smashing!

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The main branch of the New Orleans Public Library is a Mid Century wonder. This may not be obvious on the first floor or wandering the stacks, but I promise it is! That being said, the Mid Century vibe is strongest in the non-public areas, and HOLY COW is it strong. Like walking out onto the set of Mad Men strong.

I started my visit to the library in Administration, which is just off the third floor lobby through an interior sliding-glass door. Save the gum-chomping, iPhone slinging receptionist, I felt like I’d landed smack in the middle of the Sterling Cooper office without the sexy shenanigans and booze. Or maybe not; this is New Orleans after all.

Anyway. (more…)

Family Fallout Shelter 1960

Well isn’t this a swell snap!

I love dioramas and this is basically a life-sized one of a fallout shelter (!), which you all know by now are one of my favorite things in the world. Let’s take a look at what’s going on here.

The shelter itself is mostly constructed, leaving a tear-away (can you do that with bricks?) corner section and the roof mostly off for easy interior viewing. The interior is, I hope, partially stocked with canned goods, a cot, possibly a table, and…David! Is David part of the display? Is David a real boy? Is David animatronic like the witches and townspeople at the Witch Dungeon “Museum” in Salem? David’s clothes are pretty weird for 1960, and he’s the only one around, and what’s up with that expression and posture? Is David a real boy?

Regardless of David’s humanness, we also have some great signs of the Civil Defense and other sort, one of them even advertising “FALLOUT SHELTER, Constructed Free!” All in all this is a great fallout shelter display. I would love, love, love to visit a display like this.

Also, I’d pinch David to see if he were real.

Happy Friday!

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falloutshelter_haircuts

“Come on kids–let’s all look sombre!”

I love, love, love this fallout shelter photo. The shelter isn’t one of the snazziest I’ve seen, but man do the girls have some horrible haircuts. I assume they wanted something similar to mom’s but they reeealllly can’t pull them off. I also like the expressions on their faces. And holy cow, isn’t the boy the spitting image of his pop?

The shelter itself looks to be the basement variety (I could look it up in the Life magazine this is from, but it’s Labor Day weekend, and the lazy is strong with me). Note the large supply of linens on the shelf and one of the daughters’ laps, and the support chain for the bunk folded-up behind dad. The kids each seem to have a bunch of “activity” items including books and Scrabble, to help while away the hours of the apocalypse, while mom looks to be sitting on an Eames (or at least Eames-ish) chair, and dad seems pretty authoritarian with his shovel and Coleman camp stove.

A lovely tableau of the nuclear family.

Happy Friday!

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Cozy Fallout Shelter

There’s a whole lotta cozy going on in this week’s pic. The callouts are quite helpful in conveying the sense of “cozy.”

I hope this shelter was designed to only ride-out the actual blast, because I’d rather take my chances out in the thermonuclear hellscape than being packed in the shelter during the End Times.

Isn’t this how you’d like to ride out the apocalypse?

Happy Friday!

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Family Fallout Shelter on display in Milwaukee, WI, 1958.

Family Fallout Shelter on display in Milwaukee, WI, 1958.

Oh, you know–just hangin’ around the fallout shelter.

Kind of disturbing that the nuclear warhead has made it’s way through the Civil Defense triangle logo. Not what I would have gone with, but hey.

Happy Friday!

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