The Boston Housing Authority was created in 1935 and is the largest public housing authority in New England. The first public housing buildings went up in 1938 and while many have since been rehabbed or demolished, many of the original buildings still remain.

There are 69 active developments in Boston, and while some of these are single buildings for housing the elderly, some are sprawling family communities with many buildings.

Many Boston Housing Authority developments have or had buildings marked as Fallout Shelters. While most of these likely would have had enough capacity for the residents of the building itself and maybe some nearby, they were still marked as shelters for the general public.

The following developments still have one or more buildings with Fallout Shelter signs:

  • Charlestown/Bunker Hill
  • Orient Heights (East Boston)
  • Mildred C Hailey, formerly Bromley/Heath (Jamaica Plain)
  • South Street (Jamaica Plain)
  • Archdale (Roslindale)
  • Whittier Street* (Roxbury)
  • Lenox/Camden (Roxbury)
  • Mary Ellen McCormack/Old Harbor (South Boston)

The following developments have either been rehabbed, demolished, or had their signs removed:

  • Columbia Point (Dorchester-Closed and rehabbed in mid 1980’s)
  • Faneuil Gardens (Brighton-Exterior signs removed in 2019)
  • Old Colony (South Boston-Most rehabbed in 2012/2013)


Exterior signs: 4+ (1 removed)
Interior signs: Unknown

The buildings at the Bunker Hill Development were built in 1940 and are all original. All buildings are 3 story brick/concrete structures with multiple apartments, set over several streets/blocks.

As of today, there are still at least 3 exterior signs up. 1 was removed from a community building in 2010, as seen below.



However, two buildings on O’Reilley Way still have signs; one of them has two signs with the seldom seen “Floor(s)” overlay

Further down O’Reilley Way near Polk Street, a sign remains over a basement door.

There is one other exterior sign (not pictured on a building on Walford Way, facing Medford Street.


Exterior signs: 4
Interior signs: Unknown

The Alice Heyward Taylor Apartments are located in Roxbury and have a series of low and high-rise buildings between Ruggles Street and Prentiss Street. Although shelters were once listed at 20 different addresses in the complex, just 4 exterior signs remain.


Exterior signs: 6
Interior signs: Unknown

Lenox/Camden is actually two developments a few blocks from each other, but owned by BHA and managed by the same group.

Some buildings on Camden Street have been modernized into regular apartments, but 3 original buildings remain with 2 exterior signs on each building. The buildings are undergoing renovations for new windows and brick work, and a few of the signs are in excellent shape.

The Lenox side of the complex was checked, but no exterior signs existed and it is unsure if they ever did. The Roxbury shelter list had shelters listed for 131 and 141 Lenox Street, but neither address exists today.


Exterior signs: 13 (3 not pictured)
Interior signs: Unknown

Archdale is a very large development in Roslindale that sits between Washington Street and the MBTA Commuter Rail tracks. All buildings are built similar, with 3 floors of apartments.

13 exterior signs were found on various buildings, and only 3 of them aren’t pictured. Most of the signs had a capacity of 560.


Exterior signs: 4
Interior signs: Unknown

South Street is a development comprised of about 9 buildings in Jamaica Plain. Although many of the buildings are similarly built, only one of them (9-11 Metcalf Court) had signs.


Exterior signs: Removed in 2019
Interior signs: Unknown

Faneuil Gardens is located in 10 buildings on Faneuil Street in Brighton.

Several exterior signs once existed, and the two Google Map images below show two exterior signs still up as of October 2018

However, a visit in June 2019 revealed that all exterior signs had been removed


Exterior signs: 22
Interior signs:L Unknown

Mildred C. Hailey Apartments is one of the largest housing developments in Boston, spanning 25 acres in the Jamaica Plain section of the city. According to the BHA website, the complex is actually 3 developments that started in 1941 with Heath Street, expanded to Bromley Park in 1952, and Bickford Street in 1964.

The complex consists of 2, 3, and 7 story brick buildings. Since their creation, some of the buildings have undergone rehab projects, which changed their look and likely removed some shelter signs. However, 22 exterior signs still remain.

The complex changed from Bromley Heath to Mildred C. Hailey in 2016 and is named after a long-time Jamaica Plain resident who passed away the year prior.

In 2020, plans were announced to redevelop the complex, and many of the buildings are slated to be demolished and rebuilt, so many (if not all) of the shelter signs seen here will likely go when that happens.

Although most of the shelter space was in the basements of buildings, this sign and another to follow had overlays indicating shelter space on floors 4, 5 and 6

Second sign showing shelter space on floors 4, 5, and 6.


Exterior signs: 1
Interior signs: Unknown

Mary Ellen McCormack Housing is the oldest property in the BHA and is a series of three-story and row house structures in South Boston near the Boston Harbor. It is just one of a few developments in the area. One other, Old Colony, once had many shelter signs but a majority of the buildings have been demolished and rebuilt.

The three-story buildings at Mary McCormack are all of similar construction, but only one has one, single exterior Fallout Shelter sign.

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