Friday, October 12, 2012

A Most Peculiar Underground Project

In March of 1963 a one of a kind fallout shelter was constructed in the Roosevelt neighborhood in Seattle. The shelter was the first and only constructed on public property, built underneath Interstate 5. The fallout shelter was actually constructed as part of the highway, using the 4 ½ feet of backfill and 429 tons of sand piled on top of the thick concrete and steel structure not only to protect against the effects of radiation, but also to support the public roadway. Since this particular fallout shelter is an apparatus of public construction and use, it was a $67,000 project funded solely by the federal government—no wonder conservatives were not for the construction of fallout shelters, if for no other reasons considered, by the extent of the fiscal demand alone.

I found a video that tours the shelter (inserted below). The shelter was constructed as a “prototype community” fallout shelter that could protect and sustain up to 200 people for 2 weeks in the event of a nuclear attack. Nowadays, as you come upon the entrance of the shelter, once known as the "door to survival", all you'll find is graffiti and overgrown brush. As fear of nuclear attack diminished, so did the importance of this, once admired, one of a kind shelter.


Becker, Paula. "State of Washington breaks ground for a fallout shelter under the Seattle Freeway (Interstate 5) in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood on May 15, 1962." the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History. Last modified August 9, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2012.

"A Cold War-era fallout shelter exists under I-5 in Seattle - KCPQ." - KCPQ. Last modified June 26, 2011. Accessed October 12, 2012.,0,3734081.story. 

"A peek inside the Green Lake fallout shelter – My Green Lake | Seattle's Green Lake Blog." My Green Lake | Seattle's Green Lake Blog. Last modified May 12, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2012. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The 'Silent Generation'

The sexual revolution is most often associated with the free-loving era of the 1960s, but according to  historical findings the sexual revolution actually began as early as the 1940s and 50s. U.S. Census Bureau statistics provide evidence showing that the frequency of premarital pregnancies and single motherhood was on a rapid incline between the 1940s and 1960s; increasing from 7.1 to 21.6 newborns to every 1,000 unwed women during that time. This generation of people was deemed the ‘silent generation’, because sexual activity was on a rapid incline, but no one was talking about it. No one was talking about much of anything substantial taking place in society, actually. Americans were falling into a moral gray area with regards to many of the predominant issues of the era.

University of Florida historian, Alan Petigny, put it best:
“After 15 years of Depression and war, there was also a desire on the part of Americans to live in the moment and enjoy life, and they were accordingly less likely to defer to traditional restraints on their behavior.”

The idea of silence and secrecy that had begun with the construction of the a-bomb during the Manhattan Project developed further into a State of National Security, which in turn, had an effect on American Culture to the extent that individuals were displaying the magnitude of moral changes in their personal lives. With regards to the Manhattan Project and the State of National Security, in its entirety, the level of silence and secrecy can be explained by the moral ambiguity of the a-bomb project. This same logic can be applied to the rapid increase in unwed and single mothers, during the same time frame. American citizens were falling victim to the corruption of the country as a whole, resulting in a mass moral digression. American ideals appeared to be ones of hope, optimism, and unity in the face of atomic warfare during the 1940s and 50s, but realistically the public was becoming consumed by ideas of fatalism, silence, secrecy, ambiguity, and moral downfall. The sexual revolution had begun in the 1940s and 50s during the, properly termed, ‘silent generation’, but it is more often attributed to the 1960s because this is the time when the pressure of decades of silence finally erupted into a steadfast, vocal, and active revolutionary movement.