Out of Town Mini Series: 5 Signs, 4 Cities, and Where is the Shelter?

Our first Out of Town Mini Series comes from our lead correspondent, Tim, who took these photos at different times in 4 different US cities: Buffalo NY, White River Junction VT, Cleveland OH, and Las Vegas NV.

BUFFALO, NY

 

This worse-for-wear sign is on a commercial or mixed-use building and doubles as the address indicator for the building.

CLEVELAND, OH

This sign, located at the rectory and offices of The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Cleveland, shows a capacity of 220+ and appears to have been re-mounted at the top with new screws. The original fasteners remain intact at the bottom, so it’s likely the top of the sign came off the building at some point. This sign remains as of 2019.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT

This Fallout Shelter sign is on the former Post Office in White River Junction, VT (now The Center for Cartoon Studies).

LAS VEGAS, NV

These two Fallout Shelter signs are a bit of a mystery, as they’re on an open-air parking garage for the Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. It is unknown but presumed there is an underground level or basement that served as the shelter area; otherwise, it’s odd these would be on this structure as there would be no protection provided for occupants.

© 2020 Fallout Five Zero

Special thanks to Tim for these photos and kicking off our Out of Town Mini Series.

All photos owned by Tim and may not be used or reproduced without express permission. 

Who Knew They Put Up Two in the Same Day

Up until recently, I only knew of one photo of Governor Volpe hanging a Fallout Shelter sign (the first in Massachusetts) at the Massachusetts State House on November 5, 1962.

However, the photo above, found on the National Archives catalog, shows Governor Volpe hanging a second sign on the front of the State House on the same date.

At it’s peak, the Massachusetts State House had at least 6 exterior signs and an unknown amount of interior signs. All exterior and interior signs, including the two the then Governor hung, have since been removed.

For more photo-op (as well as Average Joe) sign hanging photos, visit Bill Geerhart’s Conelrad Adjacent page.

-FFZ

© 2020 Fallout Five Zero

Above photo owned by the National Archives and retrieved on January 19, 2020 at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/75747687

 

File it under “F” for Fallout

A post-holiday stroll in New York City today by FFZ correspondents Tim and Erica showed this weathered but intact exterior Fallout Shelter sign on the Hudson Park branch of the New York Public Library.

Despite announcing a campaign two years ago to remove Fallout Shelter signs from their buildings, New York still has many signs intact throughout the five boroughs.

A welcome sight going into the new year, and new decade.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from Fallout Five Zero

©️ 2019 Fallout Five Zero

Images taken and owned by Tim and Erica, FFZ correspondents and used with permission.



In 1962, a bunch of signs were put up brand new

 

A recently discovered photo from the National Archive shows a Fallout Shelter sign being hung at the former Christopher Columbus High School in the North End (now residences) on December 3, 1962.

The photo description says this sign was being hung on the North Bennett Street side of the school, and it has since been removed. However, one sign remains facing Tileston Street 

The two photos below, also from the National Archives, show interior signs hung at the same school and both photos were also dated December 3, 1962. 

 

 

The first photo appears to go into a boiler room or storage area, while the second is in the cafeteria and lists a capacity of 200. All the interior signs are believed to be gone. 

These signs were posted almost a month after the first sign was posted in Massachusetts at the State House.

© 2019 Fallout Five Zero

Exterior photo retrieved from Archive.org on December 3, 2019

First Interior photo retrieved from Archive.org on November 20, 2019

Second interior photo retrieved from Archive.org on December 3, 2019

Modern photos of former Columbus High School taken in November 2019 and property of Fallout Five Zero

A Sign Sits on The Inevitable Chopping Block

This view last Sunday shows one of the buildings of the Whittier Street projects almost completely demolished, and the lone Fallout Shelter sign on the building awaiting it’s fate.

Like many other city owned housing developments, several of the buildings here were designated as shelters. As of today, however, only one building with a sign remains. The rest have been demolished and replaced with new construction.

© 2019 Fallout Five Zero

 

Not even Hollywood could save it; A famous fallout shelter sign goes dark

The building above is the New York County Supreme Court, located at 60 Centre Street in Manhattan, in an area known as Foley Square.

If you’re an aficionado of law or court shows, the building should be familiar, as it appears in multiple shows and movies. IMDb lists 60 Centre Street as a filming location in 24 separate movies/shows, the most prominent (and current) being Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Both of these photos were taken in March 2005 and show a Fallout Shelter sign on the front of the building

As mentioned in other posts, Fallout Shelter signs often appear in the background of shows and movies (CONELRAD – All Things Atomic has an excellent and unparalleled archive of such sightings).

The above sign has appeared in Trading Places (1983), in a blurry news image photo used in the movie

Although screenshots have not yet been located, the sign has also appeared in multiple episodes of Law and Order: SVU and potentially many other movies and shows

The sign was still up as recently as December 2017 as this Google Maps screenshot shows

However, a visit to the actual site in June 2019 shows that the sign has been removed

New York started a campaign in December 2017 to remove Fallout Shelter signs; however, this was mostly done at school buildings.

It appears other buildings are now affected. In addition to 60 Centre Street, another state building down the block at 80 Centre Street also had evidence of recently removed signs.

It was disappointing to see this sign gone, as based on the prominence of this building on both TV and in actual court cases, this was likely one of (if not the most) famous Fallout Shelter sign in America.

Have any other tips on shows or movies this sign appeared in? Let us know here.

© 2019 Fallout Five Zero

March 2005 and June 2019 images of 60 Centre Street taken and owned by Fallout Five Zero

Screenshot taken from Trading Places (1983), a Paramount Pictures film 

Google image owned by Google and retrieved on June 14, 2019 from Google Maps

 

When the Fallout Shelter sign becomes art

Since it’s introduction in 1961, the Fallout Shelter sign has appeared (sometimes purposely, many times inadvertently) in the background of movies and TV shows and many photographs.

This photograph, taken by photographer Peter Simon (petersimon.com) on February 26, 1968, is titled “Verandah Porche: portrait standing between stone columns, with fallout shelter sign” and was taken in Allston.

The capacity on the sign reads 60, and it is unknown where the picture was taken or if the sign still exists. However, this is one beautiful example of how the sign can be art, and not just an eyesore or inconvenient backdrop.

© 2019 Fallout Five Zero

Photograph citation: Simon, Peter, 1947-. Verandah Porche: portrait standing between stone columns, with fallout shelter sign, February 26, 1968. Peter Simon Collection (PH 009). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Special thanks to Ronni Simon for allowing use of this photograph. Peter Simon passed away in 2018, and may he Rest in Peace. 

Special thanks also to Danielle of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Special Collections department for her assistance.