Shelter: No More

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.

© 2020 Fallout Five Zero

Footage from Spenser: For Hire owned by Warner Brothers Television

Exterior photos taken and owned by Fallout Five Zero

The Celtics In 7, The Shelter in 62 or 63

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.

©️2020 Fallout Five Zero

Image from CBS Sports Coverage, June 7, 1984 and owned by Columbia Broadcasting System.

Special thanks to Lead Correspondent Tim for finding and submitting this screenshot.

Who Knew They Put Up Two in the Same Day

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.

-FFZ

© 2020 Fallout Five Zero

Above photo owned by the National Archives and retrieved on January 19, 2020 at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/75747687

 

In 1962, a bunch of signs were put up brand new

 

A recently discovered photo from the National Archive shows a Fallout Shelter sign being hung at the former Christopher Columbus High School in the North End (now residences) on December 3, 1962.

The photo description says this sign was being hung on the North Bennett Street side of the school, and it has since been removed. However, one sign remains facing Tileston Street 

The two photos below, also from the National Archives, show interior signs hung at the same school and both photos were also dated December 3, 1962. 

 

 

The first photo appears to go into a boiler room or storage area, while the second is in the cafeteria and lists a capacity of 200. All the interior signs are believed to be gone. 

These signs were posted almost a month after the first sign was posted in Massachusetts at the State House.

© 2019 Fallout Five Zero

Exterior photo retrieved from Archive.org on December 3, 2019

First Interior photo retrieved from Archive.org on November 20, 2019

Second interior photo retrieved from Archive.org on December 3, 2019

Modern photos of former Columbus High School taken in November 2019 and property of Fallout Five Zero

When the Fallout Shelter sign becomes art

Since it’s introduction in 1961, the Fallout Shelter sign has appeared (sometimes purposely, many times inadvertently) in the background of movies and TV shows and many photographs.

This photograph, taken by photographer Peter Simon (petersimon.com) on February 26, 1968, is titled “Verandah Porche: portrait standing between stone columns, with fallout shelter sign” and was taken in Allston.

The capacity on the sign reads 60, and it is unknown where the picture was taken or if the sign still exists. However, this is one beautiful example of how the sign can be art, and not just an eyesore or inconvenient backdrop.

© 2019 Fallout Five Zero

Photograph citation: Simon, Peter, 1947-. Verandah Porche: portrait standing between stone columns, with fallout shelter sign, February 26, 1968. Peter Simon Collection (PH 009). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Special thanks to Ronni Simon for allowing use of this photograph. Peter Simon passed away in 2018, and may he Rest in Peace. 

Special thanks also to Danielle of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Special Collections department for her assistance.

A sign in limbo

Boston’s Faneuil Hall, a gift from Peter Faneuil completed in 1742, has served as Boston’s meeting hall and is now a popular tourist attraction with shops on the first floor, and the large rotunda upstairs still used for events. As seen above, it is currently undergoing renovations, which started in 2018.

In the early 1960’s it was marked as a Fallout Shelter for 100 people.

One exterior sign facing Quincy Market was removed a few years ago, and this exterior sign facing the Congress Street side of the building is the only remaining one. Interior signs were also removed by the early 1990’s.

Due to the building being a popular tourist attraction, this is one the most photographed remaining Fallout Shelter signs in the city (based on Google and Flickr entries).

However, with the exterior work going on, it is unknown if the sign will remain up or be removed for good. Fallout Five Zero has reached out to the City of Boston’s Property Management division, who manages the building, to try to learn the fate of the sign but currently there has been no reply.

Stay tuned, as this sign might soon meet the fate of so many others in recent times…

© 2019 Fallout Five Zero 

Photos taken on May 12, 2019 and property of Fallout Five Zero

UPDATE: The exterior work was completed in November 2019, and when the scaffolding was removed, the sign remained.