An exterior Fallout Shelter sign is seen on the United States Post Office Building in Littleton, New Hampshire this past fall.
The weathered sign shows a capacity of 355. New Hampshire’s first Fallout Shelter sign was posted in Concord in 1962, and shelters were more prominent in some of the larger cities like Concord and Manchester. There were, however, shelters in various places throughout the state.
In typical Hollywood fashion, one location can easily double for another, and a Fallout Shelter sign in the background does not care where it’s actually supposed to be.
This screenshot from Spenser: For Hire, Season 2, Episode 15 shows an exterior Fallout Shelter sign on the outside of 150 Causeway Street, which when this was filmed was the former Boston Garden. This arena was connected in some fashion with North Station, but neither had a bus terminal, so some artistic license was used in the shot.
This building was closed in 1995 and demolished in 1998, but it’s memory lives on in Boston sports legend and modern day streaming services.
This screenshot from the TV series Spenser: For Hire shows an exterior Fallout Shelter sign on the outside of a residential building at 96 Beacon Street in Boston. This shot came from Season 1, Episode 22 (“Hell Hath No Fury”) and was taken as Spenser (played by Robert Urich) turns from Beacon Street on to Arlington Street.
The building is still there today, but the sign is long gone.
The sign marks are still very prominent to the left of the entrance door. It is unknown when the sign was removed but it was well before the mid 1990s.
Spenser ran three seasons from 1985 to 1988 and was filmed almost entirely on location in Boston.
People are seen walking past a Fallout Shelter sign at 3 Park Street in Boston, just down from the Massachusetts State House, on April 5, 1968. These people had been engaged in demonstrations that took place after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in Memphis, Tennessee the day prior.
The building, which appeared to have been a bank when this was taken, still stands but the sign is gone.
This photo in the Boston Globe, taken by Boston Globe staff photographer Ellis Herwig on March 18, 1970 shows a couple walking by (or perhaps parting ways) outside the entrance to Arlington Station on Arlington Street. While the majority of downtown stations were marked (and some stocked) as shelters, this is the first photo I’ve seen of signage on Arlington Station.
This entrance still exists today at the southwest corner of Arlington and Boylston Streets. The former tony jeweler Shreve, Crump, and Low was once across the street but moved to Newbury Street in 2012.
No caption was with the photo, but one wonders if they had different ideas of where to go.
The above photo, submitted by our lead correspondent Tim, is an screenshot from the CBS Sports coverage of Game 5 of the Celtics-Lakers series of the 1984 NBA Finals. The game took place at the Boston Garden on June 7, 1984 and an interior Fallout Shelter sign can be seen on the upper wall behind the people entering the turnstiles.
The Boston Garden opened in 1928 and closed for good on September 28, 1995. It housed not only the Boston Celtics, but the Boston Bruins and was host to a variety of concerts and shows. I distinctly remember an exterior Fallout Shelter sign on the building facing Causeway Street, but could never find a picture to verify it. This picture shows it was in fact a shelter, although I’m not sure where the shelter area in the arena was.
If anyone has any information on the shelter inside the arena, or photos showing shelter signs, please send them along.
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.
This worse-for-wear sign is on a commercial or mixed-use building and doubles as the address indicator for the building.
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.
This recent image, taken by Tim in January 2022, shows the sign on the side of the building still there but now defaced with stickers and looking like it took a trip to multiple places around the world.
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.
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