In the 1950s and early 1960s, Civil Defense officials designated hundreds of thousands of Fallout Shelter sites throughout the U.S. in the event of a nuclear attack. The familiar yellow and black metal signs became standard fare during the Cold War in basement areas of public buildings, schools and other sturdy fortresses.
The feds’ network of concrete-lined underground fallout shelters were often stocked with water and canned food, designed to provide a “safe” harbor from radioactive debris or fallout resulting from a nuclear explosion.
The federal fallout shelter program was formally terminated in 1979, however, hundreds of the signs remain—including two at the bottom of Brooklyn Heights’ Grace Court, donning adjoining buildings 1 and 19. Allegedly, there is one inside the bowels of the Brooklyn Bridge. Who knows of other buildings in the Heights with the ubiquitous commemoration?
It seems apropos to post on this federal holiday. Happy Presidents’ Day!