20 Chilling Photos Of Bomb Shelters During The Cold War

By Sarah Norman | September 11, 2023

Step into the time machine and journey back to a remarkable era in American history, when the threat of nuclear annihilation loomed large over the nation. The Cold War, a period characterized by intense political tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, ignited fears of a catastrophic nuclear strike. In response, a wave of bomb shelters and nuclear fallout shelters emerged, aiming to safeguard lives and provide a glimmer of hope amidst the uncertainty.

Today, as memories of this tumultuous era fade or remain mere fragments of recollection, we invite you to delve into this captivating slideshow. Explore the fascinating world of bomb shelters, relive the ingenuity and paranoia of the past, and gain a renewed appreciation for the indomitable spirit of the American people. Buckle up, for this captivating journey into history will leave you hungry for more. Continue reading to discover the secrets of America's Cold War shelters and their enduring legacy.

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This Los Angeles shelter, where model Mary Lou Miner posed for this photo in 1951, was available to the public, who would have been alerted by sirens placed throughout the city if a strike was imminent. Most city shelters could protect at most a few hundred people and were not usually designed to do anything more than protect citizens from the initial blast wave. In 1955, the Office of Civil Defense tested many building styles against actual nuclear blasts to determine their durability and found concrete and brick to be the most stable materials, granted they were at least a mile away from the explosion's center.

A Fallout Shelter With A Pool? You Better Believe It

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The shelter-building craze was a boon for the construction industry, but it didn't rely solely on fear mongering. This Los Angeles pool-supply-company-turned-bunker-builder brought customers in with swimsuit-clad models who greeted them at the entrance in 1961. Fun fact: In 1946, the two-piece swimsuit was given its iconic name by designer Jaques Heim because he anticipated his design would be just as explosive as the recent Bikini Atoll nuclear bomb tests.