Inside a Homemade Concrete Fallout Shelter / Bunker

by Ranger Man on September 20, 2010

Here are some pics I’ve been meaning to post for a long time. Going through various file folders on my computer I came across them again. What you see here is the entrance to a homemade concrete bunker/fallout shelter.

It looks like a painted shed from the road, but it’s not. It’s all concrete, the roof, walls – everything. The underground “bunker” portion of this building is off to the left, covered over with earth and an old patio area. In the bottom right corner of the picture you see the homeowner holding a flashlight. There is a “DANGER” sign posted on the door, painted over white that you can probably make out.

This is how the “tour” took place. I knew a lady that knew the homeowner who was selling the house/property that included this shelter. I was always talking TEOTWAWKI with her (obviously), so when she was mentioning these people one day she said “you’d like that little ‘bunker’ they’ve got.” This obviously peaked my attention and I kept hounding her to go see it. Eventually she caved and called the guy. He told her to bring me over.

I suppose “fallout shelter” would be more accurate as I tend to envision a “bunker” as something larger than a fallout shelter, more complex construction, etc. This structure is just off a very busy road. You wouldn’t think twice seeing it in the backyard. It truly looks like a shed.

We opened the “DANGER” door and there was a small amount of junk around the floor. It was probably 6′x8′. There was a very steep set of old stairs under a trap door in the concrete floor. The stairs led down into a room the same size as the “shed” structure itself. It was pitch black down there, so the flashlight was required. Underneath the stairs was a box of what looked like old cans of Beef Ravioli or something similar. There was an open doorway that then led into the larger underground room.

The room was empty with a little water on the floor. These pictures of the walls/corners came out only because of the camera’s flash. I had to guess where I was pointing the camera. As you can imagine, for a SHTF enthusiast, it was such a shame to see the underground shelter not maintained. I’m guessing this larger room was roughly 12′x12′.

Here is a picture of the damp floor and an old, no longer functional electrical outlet box.

This picture is of the concrete ceiling and the air vent, which went above ground behind the “patio” area off to the left of the above ground shed structure. The vent above ground could have been better concealed. The observant eye would have noticed it.

The story goes, as the property owner told me, the man that owned the house associated with this property back in the 50s/60s owned a concrete business with access to excavators, etc. “Supposedly” he built this thing piecemeal from left-over concrete from various commercial projects. Was he part of the One Nation Underground movement?

I checked the realtor property listing at the time I “toured” this fallout shelter to see if the listing mentioned the shelter, but it didn’t. I strongly suspect that had little to do with any intention of keeping it secret for the next buyer and more because they likely thought it didn’t add any value to the property. The listing was on a very commercially developed road, so they were more likely targeting small business owners rather than preparedness minded homeowners.

Addressing the water issue in the shelter could present a challenge, but I wish I had something like this on my property. If the shit ever went down, like really went down, the ability to disappear underground for a while would be invaluable.

- Ranger Man

Bubblehead Les September 20, 2010

Thousands of those home made shelters are scattered around the country because of the Cold War. Most have probably been filled in or dug up for a swimming pool by the later owners. Of course, when they were built, there was not as much fear from your neighbors trying to attack you, because they probably had one too. So there was not a real sense for the need to have a Back door or hide the vents. Everyone was told to just hunker down for a few days until the Civil Defense people showed up with the “All Clear” signal. Today, a Nuke Resistant Shelter would also have to serve double duty as a Firebase AGAINST your neighbors, and you better be prepared to live in it for a LONG time. But if you have the time and money…..

TripodXL September 20, 2010

It’ll be hard to be a fire base, what with no windows underground. There’s an old military maxim “if there’s only one way in, then there’s only one way out”! Not that I actually care what others may think but I would like to elaborate on a few pet peeves that indicate, if not double digit IQs, at least a fundamental lack of understanding of the birth language of our country. Then and than are two different words with two different meanings. Notice that I used the word “two” indicating a number between one and three, not to be confused with “too” which means “also” as in “me too”. And then, there is to, which is a preposition which usually requires an object to be used correctly in a sentence, though sometimes it can be use as an adverb. The biggest faux pas ( that’s French for “I don’t know how to speak my native tongue well”) is your, you’re and, just for grins, yore. Your indicates possession as in “is that your ugly wife”? You’re indicates a contraction for “you are” and is a verb phrase indicating that you are getting ready to perform some other action or in the case of “you’re f*cked” you are about to be on the receiving end of some action. Where as, yore is indicative of of some historical event from the days of “yore”. Now, back to then and than. Then indicates a point in time that you refer to, as in that happened way back “then”. The word than, means some decision or differentiation took place as in “I would rather have chocolate THAN vanilla”. There is also break versus brake, one has to do with stopping movement and the other, if it is in reference to your (possessive) rifle in a fire fight (in the past tense, broke), means “you’re(verb phrase) f*cked”. And, of course, who could forget the ubiquitous there, their and they’re. Their (ownership) vehicle turned over right there (a physical location) in the road and trapped them and caught fire and now they’re (contraction for they are, indicating the commission or reception of some further verb action) f*cked. A magazine is either for reading or CONTAINING ammunition, while a clip holds something together, such as a tie to your shirt or ammunition, i.e. an M1 Garand (notice that this is not Garend btw, and only one R) en bloc clip holds eight rounds of ammo together, while an M14 magazine contains 20 rounds of ammo. The following sentences would capture one of my daily rides through the burbs in Baghdad. We drove through the alley and Bud was reading a magazine while I clipped the AAR to my clip board while the Sgt loaded his magazine with three stripper clips, when there on the right the insurgents opened fire with their AKs, but the driver hit the brake hard and the TC hollered “they’re over there, get your ass in gear, you’re the one on the fifty and I want two bursts of fire, then I want you two to dismount too, take cover and return fire and when there is a break in the action we’ll dismount and take cover, rather than stay with the hummer and try to produce grammatically correct sentences”. LOL LOL LOL

Shotzeedog September 20, 2010

TripodXL I agree with you. I think the younger people weren’t paying attention in school. English is not my best subject but I know the difference between then and than , etc.

Ranger Man September 20, 2010

Is this just a random Tripod XL rant or did I make a grammatical error in the post? Either one is fine, but if it’s an error in the post, I don’t see it, and I understand proper English. Of course, sometimes when you look at something a million times you can can read right over it, which may be what I’m doing.

No ME Preppy September 20, 2010


Jack September 20, 2010

If you’re going to be a grammar nazi, shouldn’t you use proper spacing, consistent punctuation, and some paragraph breaks in your own works? Just saying…..

In reference to the ‘shelter’, we recently had a local doper using an old underground shelter as a grow house for some pot. None of the current neighbors even knew the shelter was there until he got busted.

GoneWithTheWind September 20, 2010

Looks like a depressing place to die. It wouldn’t be suitable for either a fallout shelter or a place to protect yourself from attackers. Barely minimal for one person to hunker in and absolutely out of the question for two or more.

Acme Reader January 7, 2011

@Gonewiththe wind,

I don’t agree with your assessment, at least on the fallout shelter idea. A rough estimate gives a ‘shed’ roof thickness of 8 inches, so I’d assume that the bunker area ceiling is at least 8″ as well.

I interpreted the author’s “The underground “bunker” portion of this building is off to the left, covered over with earth and an old patio area.” to mean that at least another 6″ of soil/sand (for drainage and levelling) and perhaps another 2 inches of patio blocks, the protection factor estimate is around 64.

Shovel up a pile of dirt on the ‘patio’, cover it with a $50 roll of 2 mil poly sheeting and some more dirt, and you end up with a dry bunker with a protection factor in the 1000 range.

Angry Mike September 20, 2010

I remember seeing a lot more of those in the 70′s and 80′s. Even schools had designated “fallout area” signs posted on the walls. You will be fighting off your neighbors in todays society. There wont be much banding together and pooling resources to help each other. The LAST place I want to be is in a concrete coffin. Its a nice retreat to lay low in but dont get stuck in it. It would be real easy to block the doors, dump gasoline down the vent and throw a match at it. Not the way I want to go.

TripodXL September 21, 2010

LOL, Hey, Ranger Man,
No, no, nothing that you did. It’s just that when you read all these blogs (not just here) and some blowhard pontificates about all his “expert abilities” or gives their expert opinion on the ONLY correct way to do something and they can’t spell or properly use grammar (as opposed to grammer), it just sort of boils over where ever it boils over. Now, having said that, I have to say that the other reason is, that I am an intelligent redneck and I get tired of having to apologize to my intellectual friends for the lack of culture (inability to spell or use grammar correctly) that some of our more conservative brethren have, as our more liberal co-humans seem to have an easier time spelling and using proper grammar. They look down their noses at US and yet THEY have no common sense. On the other side of that, is having to explain the more erudite elements of culture and expanded horizons to my redneck brethren, as I am not racially biased, I don’t necessarily think “they should all be killed and let God sort’em out”. Life isn’t black and white but it doesn’t have 16 million colors either. It takes some thought, reasoned awareness, pragmatism and open eyes to meet life head on and come out ahead.
Well, Jack, your rite their shud be a paregraf after the secand sentunce. Howsomever, the rest of the diatribe, is one coherent thoght on the subject of speling and gramer and shud reasst as it iz. As far as the spacing issue goes, I have a back stabbing laptop keyboard that is sometimes recalcitrant at times (it is about six years old and the only computer I have) and it is very frustrating to me that it doesn’t work rite all tha time. Read some Hemingway, you’ll find not paragraphs but single sentences that are a page and a half long. It is subjective to some extent but if that’s all that bothered you then I did pretty good. Not trying to be a grammar Nazi (Nazi is capitalized, by the way) but if you misspell a word here on this blog it is underlined in red and shouldn’t be sent forward until it is corrected. Just never did things half-fast (pun) LOL. Enjoy!

Jack September 21, 2010

Nazi would be capitalized if it was used in the context of the Nazi Party, but it’s not capitalized in this context, any more than the terms fascist or socialist would be capitalized.

I prefer your new accent, but I still don’t see the point of either your first or second comment. Just don’t read any blogs where a ‘blowhard pontificates’.

Presage Buddy October 8, 2010

I purchased my current New England home back in 2003 and before I bought it, the real estate agent took me on a tour of this colonial four-square. When we got to the basement I noticed what looked like a fan-shaped scrape mark on the concrete. I didn’t say anything. The agent went upstairs while I lingered in the basement. I grabbed ahold of a pipe that protruded from the wall and gave it a tug. HOLY MACKEREL! It was a bomb shelter. The agent didn’t even know about it and it wasn’t listed in the house description. Needless to say, it is now fully stocked and functional. Now this is what I call “more house for the money”.

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