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Opening a Bomb Shelter Sealed Since 1961

(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.)

(Video Link)

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

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