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

 

File it under “F” for Fallout

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

©️ 2019 Fallout Five Zero

Images taken and owned by Tim and Erica, FFZ correspondents and used with permission.



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

A Sign Sits on The Inevitable Chopping Block

This view last Sunday shows one of the buildings of the Whittier Street projects almost completely demolished, and the lone Fallout Shelter sign on the building awaiting it’s fate.

Like many other city owned housing developments, several of the buildings here were designated as shelters. As of today, however, only one building with a sign remains. The rest have been demolished and replaced with new construction.

© 2019 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.

Perfugium in Fundamentum

Boston Latin School, the oldest public school in America, was founded in 1635. The first school building was on School Street in Boston (a plaque marks the site). It moved to it’s current location on Avenue Louis Pasteur in 1921.

Like many of the other Boston Public School buildings, it was marked as a public Fallout Shelter. The first two photos above excerpted from the 1964 Liber Actorum. which is Boston Latin’s yearbook, and presumably taken around the same time. The third photo was taken from the 1979 edition.

It is unknown if this was the same sign, but the school had an addition added in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, and it (or they) were likely removed at that point, as publications of Liber Actorum from the mid-1990’s no longer showed them.

The picture below of the Boston Latin football team is from the 1969 Liber Actorum  and shows the exterior sign on the front of the building, which based on photographic evidence was removed by 1990.

The building also had numerous interior Fallout Shelter signs on the first floor, in the interior stairs, and in the basement. Three such signs existed in 1995, and all were removed within the next 6 years.

Pictures below show two different signs from the 1979 Liber Actorum

Another picture from the 1984 Liber Actorum shows an interior sign on the first floor hallway next to the stairs

A listing of shelters in Roxbury (which is the area this school is considered to be in) shows the shelter capacity for Boston Latin at 1,006.

English High School, which has been Latin’s football rival for decades, was once housed across the street from Latin in the former High School of Commerce and was also designated as a shelter. However, a new English High School was built in the 1970’s in a high rise (which still sits across from the current Boston Latin and is now owned by Harvard Medical School) and was not marked as a shelter. English High later moved to Jamaica Plain.

Several other editions of Liber Actorum show signs in the hallways, and by physical and photographic evidence, it was likely that 7 or more interior signs existed when the school was designated as a shelter. One FFZ contributor even shared that Civil Defense water barrels became classroom trash bins at Boston Latin in the 1980’s.

As the phrase goes, Tempus Fugit, and no signs remain at Boston’s oldest and most renowned public school.

© 2019 Fallout Five Zero

All photographs above excerpted from editions of Liber Actorum and accessed through archive.org at https://archive.org/details/bostonlatinschool

 

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.