Ken and Carol Zwick moved into their beautiful home in Neenah, WI several years ago.
When they moved in they noticed there were two giant green metal doors in the backyard. They were always curious what was inside, but there were always more important things that demanded their attention. So the doors sat there, untouched for years as the surrounding plants covered them. Ken and Carol slightly knew what it was. It was actually an 80-square foot bomb shelter built back in the 60s when nuclear war seemed inevitable.
They had just assumed it was an empty space that had been cleared out by the previous owners when they brought the property. The pair had no use for a bomb shelter either, so it was easy for them to forget about it. So for the past 10 years it sat there untouched. But then one day, they finally decided they wanted to see what was really in the bomb shelter. Perhaps there was something interesting to be found inside.
So what was inside this mysterious bunker?
When they opened the doors, they quickly realized that the years had not been kind to the bunker. Years of rainfall had accumulated and parts of the bunkers had been flooded for quite some time. Inside was a sole ladder that lead down to a small 8 feet by 10 feet chamber.
The property’s previous owner, Frank Pansch had built the bomb shelter himself in the 1960s. This era of history is most notably characterized by tense erelations between the U.S. and Russia. Both were equipped with nuclear weapons and civilians were encouraged to make their own bomb shelters in case of nuclear fallout.
They also realized that the bunker wasn’t empty as they had previously assumed.While bomb shelters weren’t meant to protect from the initial blast, they were instead stocked with food and other important provisions to keep families alive as they waited for the fallout to pass.
This bomb shelter had enough food and water to last an entire family for about two weeks.And of course the provisions inside were from the 1960s when it was built! It had become more of a time capsule than a bomb shelter! So the family dug around and found things that hadn’t been damaged by the flood waters.
What they found is incredibly interesting!
“It was all of what you would expect to find in a 1960s fallout shelter,” Zwick explained in an interview with the Daily News. “It was food, clothing, medical supplies, tools, flashlights, batteries, items that you would want to have in a shelter if you planned to live there for two weeks.”
Inside some of the rations are candies that are so rare, that even collectors would have a hard time finding them!
The Zwick family were so kindhearted however, that they donated all of the cool vintage food and objects to the Neenah Historical Society so that future generations can admire them.
“It will really give people a sense of what it was like to live in 1960, to feel like they’re in their living room, and suddenly they need to go to their fallout shelter,” said executive director of the Neenah Historical Society, Jane Lang.
While this bomb shelter may never be used for its intended purpose, it has given us a priceless look back into the 1960s for those of us who never experienced those times first hand. Glimpses of the past are not only interesting, but can help teach us lessons about the future. The fact that this shelter never needed to be used is a testament to how important good international relations are.