Family Fallout Shelter

The family fallout shelter represents the public policy assumptions of the atomic age, namely, that with enough preparation, the American family and with it the nation's social and political fabric would survive a nuclear attack. This free-standing, double-hulled steel shelter was installed beneath the front yard of Mr. and Mrs. Murland E. Anderson of Ft. Wayne, Indiana. The Andersons purchased their shelter from J. L. Haverstock, a Ft. Wayne realtor who began selling family fallout shelters as a sideline in early 1955 after reading a promotional Life magazine article.
The Andersons maintained the shelter from its installation in 1955 through the 1960s, a period spanning the development of the hydrogen bomb and the Cuban missile crisis. Insufficiently anchored against Ft. Wayne's high water table when first installed, the shelter popped to the surface of the Anderson front yard in time for the Cuban missile crisis and was quickly reinterred in a frenzy of shelter building activity in 1961. The donors purchased the property, including the shelter, from the Andersons in 1968.
Currently not on view
Object Name
shelter, fallout
Date made
date made
Universal Tank & Iron Works, Inc.
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
overall: 15 ft x 13 ft x 10 ft; 4.572 m x 3.9624 m x 3.048 m
Place Made
United States: Indiana, Indianapolis
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Civil Defense
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
See more items in
Political History: Political History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Timothy L. and Vera R. Howey

Visitor Comments

7/18/2013 3:45:42 PM
Jack Hammer
The day before this was dug from the ground. My partner and myself (ELVIS & HAMMER) Broadcasted live from this shelter for an 4 hour radio show. That was long enough for us! (sorry we should of cleaned up!) Jack Hammer 92.3 The Fort Fort Wayne Indiana
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