Fallout Shelters on Local TV

Fallout Shelter signs, as this website shows, are being taken down as time goes on, but still have a prominent place on walls and buildings throughout the United States.

On occasion they even appear on television; sometimes this is done purposely for dramatic effect (often in movies or TV shows having to do with nuclear disasters). Often though, they end up inadvertently in the background of a shot. Bill Geerhart’s “Conelrad Adjacent” site has an entire page dedicated to Fallout Shelter signs that make appearances in the background of movies and TV shows (very fascinating if you’ve never seen it).

Even locally, on news or local TV shows, such appearances can happen, and as you can see below, even appearances of former signs.

In the late 1970’s, WCVB-TV in Boston produced local TV shows/sitcoms. Two such shows were The Baxters and Park Street Under. Neither show ran for a long time, and while The Baxters eventually ended up becoming a national TV show, Park Street Under did not and ran only in the Boston area. It was about a fictitious bar near the real Park Street MBTA Station, and the workers and patrons who frequented it.

clip of the show’s opening shows lead character Augie (played by comedian and Massachusetts native Steve Sweeney) taking a parking ticket off his car near the bar. In the background, 6 familiar dots are on the wall behind him…

img_7606_edit

That’s right, the 6 sign marks from (most likely) an exterior Fallout Shelter sign after it was taken off of the building.

It took some time going through the remainder of the clip to see where this building was, as the bar did not really exist. However, it was finally discovered that the building was in fact 23 Beacon Street, and the sign marks still exist today, as seen in the Google Maps image below.

23beacongoogle_arrow

It is unknown when and why the sign was removed, and whether or not any interior signs remain, but that is 99% likely the 14″ x 20″ square of a former exterior Fallout Shelter sign.

Have another local show or example that you know a shelter sign appeared? Let us know.

Park Street Under screen shot from YouTube clip owned by Jacksonupperco and website “That’s Entertainment!”; show aired and owned by WCVB-TV Boston, a Hearst television station. 

Google screen shot from and owned by Google Maps. 

© 2017 Fallout Five Zero

 

 

Welcome to Summer

I hope everyone is ready to enjoy their summer.

A new out of town series has been published for Pawtucket Rhode Island, and includes 5 shelters, including one picture of supplies still in place.

Thanks to all who have visited, and I am continuing to solicit photos and submissions from others. Please visit the contact page to submit photos, a shelter location, or anything Fallout Shelter or Civil Defense related.

Happy summer, Happy 4th of July and be safe!

FFZ

When The Sirens Rang Over Boston

E51 Air Raid Siren Box E51 Air Raid Siren Controls

Starting in the early 1950’s, Boston once had an extensive air raid siren system. The Greater Boston Civil Defense Manual, published in 1952, stated Boston had 119 air raid sirens. In 1965, that number was at 132.

The above mentioned civil defense manual also stated that each siren could be operated individually, or from a central location, and all were tested on Fridays at noon.

The above pictures show the controls for one such siren. These were located at Boston Fire Department’s Engine 51 station in Oak Square, Brighton in the patrol desk area. These were taken in September 2009 (hence the quality, see below). However, the station underwent major renovations in or around 2011, and the controls (as well as the exterior Fallout Shelter sign) were removed.

The last known siren in the city came down in 2000, when the old Registry of Motor Vehicles building at 100 Nashua Street was demolished. Prior to that, many sirens had been removed when buildings were renovated in the 1980’s. It is unknown when the city stopped using or maintaining the sirens, although historical accounts have it somewhere around the early to mid 1970’s.

Editors note: These pictures were taken using the then technologically advanced, but now not so much iPhone 3G. Apologies for the very poor quality. 

 

A Contributor Talks Supplies

Fallout Five Zero received some mail today from visitor Kris Waterman, who recollected the status of some Civil Defense supplies at two Boston shelters: the German International School in Allston, and Boston Latin School near the Fenway:

I know what happened to the supplies in the shelters in two of the locations in your list:

1) The German International School in Allston was [originally] named St Anthony’s – I attended school there. My 5th & 6th grade teacher asked the janitor what happened to the supplies and he told her that they were still in place until the previous summer when they were thrown out (Summer of 1984? 1985? – sorry my memory is a little hazy on the year).

2) Boston Latin School – the water barrels actually [became] trash cans located in various classrooms throughout the school. Not sure if there were crackers or carb supplements stored at any point in  there. (1980s’)

What is interesting is that there have been similar situations where Civil Defense water barrels became trash cans for various reasons, but this is the first case where I have heard of it happening locally.

At least someone actually used them for other purposes, unlike the MBTA, who dumped all the ones at Boylston Station at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks to Kris Waterman for sharing this information.

Have similar stories? Contact us

Fallout Five Zero

The Boston Metro Article

Every so often, a story about Civil Defense supplies will appear in the media. It usually involves the finding of supplies or talk about Fallout Shelters or signs etc.

Recently, such a story appeared on boston.com when a staff member at Boston City Hall found the Civil Defense crackers and supplies located in the crawl spaces underneath the building and put up a video of himself eating one (I’d link the video but it was apparently made private after he was asked to remove it).

Shortly after boston.com picked up the story, the free and popular among subway riders Boston Metro paper decided to feature the story as well, and one of their reporters. Spencer Buell, contacted me to ask my thoughts on the subject. The resulting article was very good.

Just to clarify something, though….the reporter had me stating the following:

There are many places all over the city where crackers still sit right where the doomsday preppers of yesterday left them 

and this is quite the opposite of what I said. I do not blame the reporter, because it was a quick but intense conversation about a lot of Fallout Shelter and Civil Defense facts and numbers. However, I told him that finding any type of Civil Defense supplies is quite rare, and the only two sites I know of definitively in the city that still have them are Boston City Hall and the Up Academy in South Boston.

Civil Defense supplies were not always issued to shelters. Even when they were, however, they were not always kept. Once the program lost popularity, shelter supplies were often cleaned out and removed for various reasons. Signs would often remain for years after, but even those are coming down as time goes on.

I applaud boston.com and Mr. Buell from the Metro for bringing light to an important piece of our history. But I can say with utmost certainty that finding these supplies is a rare occurrence, and trying them, as the staffer at City Hall did, is only for those with an iron stomach. (Most were packaged in 1962 or 1963….you do the math).

(If you do find supplies still in place anywhere please let us know, we’d like to hear about it).

Fallout Five Zero

Fall: A great time to go out of town

Happy Fall (or sorry Summer is over, depending on how you like to look at it)..

In addition to adding some new sites to the Boston Fallout Shelter list, I have added the first in the Out of Town series with a page on the Lockport/Niagara Falls area in Western NY (made possible by Tim and Erica, two new volunteer FFZ correspondents). They got some great pictures of 7 shelters in that area with remaining signs.

As the year comes to a close, look for more Out of Town series from places outside of Massachusetts. (If you’d like to submit an Out of Town series, send me a note here).

As well, I will be adding Fallout Shelter lists for the cities of Cambridge and Somerville and adding more general fallout shelter pictures as time goes on.

Thanks to our correspondents for making the Out of Town series a reality and thanks to everyone who visits and contributes.

The contact page is always open!

 

FFZ