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.

Date Made: 1950Date Made: 1950s-1960s

Maker: Universal Tank & Iron Works, Inc.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Indiana, Indianapolis

Subject: Civil Defense


See more items in: Political and Military History: Political History, Engineering, Building, and Architecture, Sputnik


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Timothy L. and Vera R. Howey

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0051.04Accession Number: 2005.0051Catalog Number: 2005.0051.04

Object Name: shelter, fallout

Physical Description: steel (overall material)Measurements: overall: 15 ft x 13 ft x 10 ft; 4.572 m x 3.9624 m x 3.048 m


Record Id: nmah_1282018

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