SOUTH COAST, MA

South Coast Massachusetts is not a town, but a region in the very south of Massachusetts that sits between Cape Cod and Rhode Island.

There are many towns and small cities that are part of this region, and visits last year and this year revealed many buildings with remaining exterior and interior Fallout Shelter signs

NEW BEDFORD

New Bedford is a city of just under 100,000 residents that was settled in 1652 and became a city in 1787. It is known as “The Whaling City” due to it’s prominent past as a whaling port.

Many buildings in the city still have remaining signs, and three are featured here

1. New Bedford Town Offices, Building 5

Exterior signs: 2
Interior signs: 1 removed, others unknown

New Bedford Town Offices Building 5

New Bedford Town Offices Building 5 Fallout Shelter sign (Right side)

In the stairwell next to this sign, there were marks indicating an interior sign had been removed

2. New Bedford Fire Department Headquarters

Exterior signs: 1

3. New Bedford Fire Prevention 

Exterior signs: 1

FALL RIVER

About 15 miles northwest of New Bedford is Fall River, a city of just under 90,000. Fall River was settled in 1670 and became a city in 1803.

Fall River still has a variety of mill and textile buildings, and its prominent attraction is Battleship Cove, which is a collection of Naval ships from World War II.

Below are some of its buildings with remaining shelter signage

1. William J. Wiley Middle School (Abandoned)

Exterior signs: 1

2. People Incorporated (Former Union and Citizens Savings Banks)

Exterior signs: 2
Interior signs: 3, all removed

There were two exterior Fallout Shelter signs, both with a capacity of 50. Although these were separate buildings, it appears that the shelter area was one in the same.

 

Note that although this sign is weathered, it’s color has remained due to being protected underneath the awning

This sign also listed a capacity of 50; it has increased weathering and color loss due to being exposed to the elements.

Inside the door to the former Union Savings Bank is a large, open room, quite obvious that it once served as a bank, with the vault still intact. The brown door in the middle leads to the basement and what was once the shelter area. The interior sign above it was removed, but the marks are still visible

The stairs lead down to this basement area, which once served as the shelter. The wooden storage area was likely added later, as the listed capacity of 50 people would not have fit in this area.

Inside the storage area is one column that once held an interior sign, but it was removed

There was a third interior sign, which was not seen but is presumed removed.

As it turns out, The Herald News (a local newspaper) did a story about this building in 2012, which showed two of the three interior signs still intact, including the one above.

DIGHTON

Dighton is a small town of about 7,000 residents 11 miles north of Fall River.

In Dighton is the Bristol County Agricultural High School, which enrolls 450 students and prepares them for careers in various agricultural disciplines, including animal science, landscape design, and agricultural mechanics.

The campus is vast, spanning both sides of the street with several different buildings. Gilbert Hall (the main building), and Keith Hall (cafeteria and administrative offices), are both marked as Fallout Shelters.

1. Bristol County AHS – Keith Hall (Building K)

Exterior signs: 2

Although it is more visible on this sign, the capacity is listed as 240 on both signs.

The basement shelter area was comprised of a hallway and possibly the cafeteria, although no interior signage existed to demarcate it. Some of the basement might have been rebuilt or re-purposed over the years.

2. Bristol County AHS – Gilbert Hall 

Exterior signs: 1
Interior signs: 1, 1 removed

The only exterior sign on this building was next to the main entrance. The right arrow pointed toward an addition, which the Director of Facilities said was built in the 1970’s, and was obviously different construction than the original building. There was no other entrance on that side, and it may have been removed or replaced after a fire in the main building, or perhaps covered by the addition.

Inside, there was one shelter sign in the basement shelter area. One sign at the top of the basement stairs had been removed, and the tape was painted over


At the bottom of the stairs to the left is this corridor, which served as the shelter area. Above the lockers to the right (underneath the fire alarm horn/strobe) is a partially hidden interior sign

The sign is hidden enough to not be able to tell if there were any overlays on it.

Here is another view of the hallway/shelter area from the other direction. The lockers and the hidden sign are up on the left.

The Director of Facilities was asked if any Civil Defense rations or equipment were ever in the building, but he was unsure. He also stated the building is due to undergo renovations this year, so he would keep us updated on the status of the signs.

Many shelters exist in both New Bedford and Fall River that were not included, so they may be added to this page at a later date, but that’s all for now from the South Coast.

FFZ

© 2019 Fallout Five Zero

All photographs were taken in May 2018 and April 2019 and are exclusive property of Fallout Five Zero. 

Special thanks to Peter and the staff of People Incorporated for permission and access for interior pictures 

Special thanks to Ryan Miranda and the administration of the Bristol County Agricultural High School for the escort and access for interior pictures