(Photo: Rodolfo Gonzalez/AP/Austin American-Statesman)
Craig Denham bought a home in the suburbs west of Austin, Texas. He discovered an amazing find: a bomb shelter that had been sealed since 1961. It’s an amazing time capsule that reveals the fears of the atomic age.
A previous owner, E.V. Robnett Jr., a retired colonel in the US Air Force, built it using his technological ingenuity and inside information:
Two retractable cots hang from one wall in a cramped room that is illuminated by a single light bulb. Nearby is a crank for the air shaft; across the way are spigots for water stored in tanks.
In one corner is a low, odd-looking toilet sheltered behind a plastic shower curtain. […]
Lined on shelves of the shelter — built by a retired Air Force colonel who was also something of an inventor — are supplies and equipment for surviving a week or two underground. That was the length of time civil defense officials estimated — at least for public consumption — necessary for radioactive fallout from a nuclear bomb to clear away.
Among the most chilling artifacts: a Texas highway map posted on the wall. The shelter owner had carefully drawn cross hairs over San Antonio — where U.S. military forces were concentrated — along with what appear to be trajectories for fallout drift. (Oddly, the lines fan out to the southeast, defying the prevailing Texas winds.)
Here’s a nuclear attack preparedness film made by and for Austin residents in 1960. It's a remarkably thrilling bit of cinema.
-via Glenn Reynolds