Hidden Fallout Shelters: Remnants of the Cold War in American Backyards

Image Credit: Mae Ryan/KPCC

Image Credit: Mae Ryan/KPCC

Every little kid dreams of finding hidden treasure in their backyard, and it’s a safe bet that most adults would like to find it as well! However, a much more common scenario is finding a hidden fallout shelter. Due to the paranoia caused by the threat of impending nuclear destruction due to the Cold War, thousands of Americans built fallout shelters in their backyards during the 50’s and 60’s. Although most homeowners know if they’ve got one or not due to the increased value they can give a home, many don’t: until they literally trip over the hatch!


Fully-Stocked Shelters: a Glimpse Into the Past

Image Credit: Mae Ryan/KPCC

Image Credit: Mae Ryan/KPCC

Sometimes you get surprised by something even when you know about it. When a California couple bought a home in Woodland Hills, they knew that a fallout shelter was part of the bargain. What the seller didn’t tell them though was that the shelter was fully stocked with intact goods from the 1960’s! Maybe the seller never investigated the shelter while living there, since above ground all you could see was an unattractive hole with a rusty ladder that led deep into the ground. However, the new homeowners were more adventurous and found incredible relics from the past, like food, comic books, medicine, survival equipment, even clothes: all miraculously preserved for over 50 years!

Another shelter in Wisconsin lay unexplored for decades until a family decided to finally check out that strange metal door in their backyard that seemed to lead to what appeared to be a mineshaft. Once they explored the rusty, water-soaked tunnel, it turned out to be- you guessed it- a fallout shelter. Although rust damage to the shelter was severe, there were some fantastically preserved items inside, like boxes of cereal and ammo cans which ended up containing Hawaiian Punch! The moral of the story is: if you have an inexplicable door in the backyard, try opening it! There might be some treasures from the past inside!

The team at McCaleb Construction has found some strange things during renovations, but that never stops us from delivering the home of your dreams! We are a Tucson remodeling company, honored numerous times for our work and our ethics, and we love helping our clients achieve their design vision. Call us at 520-323-2100 or contact us on the web for more information!

This article is part of our STRANGE THINGS FOUND DURING HOME RENOVATIONS blog series.


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