A stroll downtown with a shelter always nearby

May 13 1969 / fromthearchive / Globe Staff photo by William Ryerson / Shoppers at Washington and Summer streets.

This 1969 photo at Summer and Washington Streets in Boston, which is now known as Downtown Crossing, shows a lively scene with people shopping and a couple out with their baby. The pedestrian plaza had not been created yet, so a cop directs traffic behind them.

To the left of Albert’s Hosiery, a Fallout Shelter sign is seen above the entrance to what was then Washington Station (now known as Downtown Crossing MBTA Station). The station entrance remains, but the Fallout Shelter sign is gone, and as the photo below shows, was actually gone by 1973 (possibly when they placed new color-coded MBTA signage and the ubiquitous T symbol over the entrance).

December 24 1973 / fromthearchive / Globe Staff photo by Ellis Herwig / An aerial view of Christmas shoppers at the intersection of Washington and Summer St.

Almost all of the downtown subway stations were designated as fallout shelters, with the last of the signs in the system coming down in 2014 when the Government Center Station headhouse was demolished (the only two stations whose shelter status is unknown is Bowdoin, which has a fairly modern concrete headhouse with no evidence of signage, and Adams Square, which was near what is now City Hall Plaza and demolished in 1963 to make way for the plaza and the new city hall building).

Civil defense supplies remain dumped, however, at the end of an unused tunnel at Boylston Street Station, likely to remain there forever.

A vast majority of the downtown department stores in this area were also shelters. The only sign left of all the stores (and the only store left, of all the original stores, as well) is inside an entrance of Macy’s (formerly Jordan Marsh) and shows shelter space was available in the basement and on floors 2-5.

© 2018 Fallout Five Zero

Above photos owned by the Boston Globe.

Top photo taken on May 13, 1969 by William Ryerson, Globe staff. 

Bottom photo taken on December 24, 1973 by Ellis Herwig, Globe staff.

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