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. 

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