Visit Date: February 22, 2011
Sign status: All remaining exterior signs removed in 2017
Remaining interior sign removed 2011
Fallout Shelter supplies remain (read below)
The former Patrick Gavin Middle School, now the Up Academy, is located in South Boston and the visit to this school began as normal as any other. There were 5 exterior signs and 1 interior sign during the visit. 2 exterior signs and the remaining interior sign have since been removed.
The front of the school as seen from Dorchester Street; exterior sign and frieze, which shows the school was built in 1936.
This side entrance from Dorchester Street has another exterior sign.
The first side entrance on East 7th Street.
The second side entrance further down East 7th Street. This sign was removed sometime between 2011 and 2014.
The fifth and last exterior sign was at the rear of the school next to an entrance facing F Street. It was removed in 2011.
Inside the school was only one interior sign, with shadows of others in the stairwells.
Two views of the remaining interior sign in first floor hallway. Since the visit, it has been removed.
These adhesive marks show the shadow of a former sign in a first floor stairwell, and an outline of approximately where the sign would have sat.
Although the visit would have ended there, since these were all the signs, the staff member who was escorting me around turned to me and stated, “You know, I think there’s some old stuff down by the gym.”
We went downstairs near the gym and through a door into a large crawl space.
This was the beginning. This ultimately led to several other spaces within the bowels of the school, and was essentially access for pipes etc.
However, one hallway and area held more…
Up further into the space and down a long utility hallway…was dozens of intact boxes of Civil Defense crackers.
I was stunned. The rations were stored here and then most likely forgotten about by everyone except for custodial staff and rodents.
A separate storage area off of this hallway held Civil Defense Sanitation Kits (SK IV), green Civil Defense water barrels, and other a few damaged and not fully stocked Medical Kits (I don’t remember which type: A, B or C). A BPS staff member, separate of this school, stated that he recalled all Medical Kits were inventoried at some point to make sure no medicine or drugs remained.
Although it had been just about 50 years since these rations and supplies were manufactured and placed into the school, they were still there, and although not in decent shape, it gave you an idea of what they looked like when they were first stocked.
Shortly after the visit, the Patrick Gavin became the Up Academy. However, before the transition, the idea was floated to take and sell some of these items (with permission) to collectors to raise money for the school. This was done, and after raising some funds, a local non-profit named PINCH donated matching funds. Enough money was raised to buy a trophy case for the students of the Patrick Gavin in the name of Acia Johnson, a former Patrick Gavin student who, along with her younger sister Sophia, was killed in a South Boston arson fire in 2008. Since the closing of the Gavin, the case is now on display at the South Boston Boys and Girls Club.
As for the Civil Defense supplies, they are believed to remain in their home in the bowels of the school, maybe never to be seen again.
Ed. Note: On December 26, 2017 the Boston Globe published an article about Fallout Shelters, and featured the Up Academy because the supplies were believed to still be there. A visit to the school for the article revealed that the crackers still remain, as well as a few Sanitation Kit IV’s, but the majority of the water drums, with the exception of 1 or 2, are now gone.
Fallout Five Zero