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Houston Fallout Shelters


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I found an old book at the Downtown public library on old Houston fallout shelters, "The Community Shelter Plan." I have been out looking around town to see if any of the buildings where the shelters were still exist. Some are gone, but i have been to many of the building that do still exist, I hve not got to the shelter part of the buildings yet. If anyone else has heard about these old shelters or has been into any of them please let me know.

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I found an old book at the Downtown public library on old Houston fallout shelters, "The Community Shelter Plan." I have been out looking around town to see if any of the buildings where the shelters were still exist.  Some are gone, but i have been to many of the building that do still exist, I hve not got to the shelter part of the buildings yet. If anyone else has heard about these old shelters or has been into any of them please let me know.

I remember as a kid......about 15 years ago the Woolworths downtown on Main street had a sign with a "radiation" emblem on it that said something like "Fallout shelter in basement". Woolworths has long been removed so I never got a chance to check it out. Is it in your book? How about that box Federal courthouse ......I remember taking a tour in school that mentioned something about that building made to survive a nuclear attack. Don't remember much that was back in '89

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the woolworths one is in there

I remember as a kid......about 15 years ago the Woolworths downtown on Main street had a sign with a "radiation" emblem on it  that said something like "Fallout shelter in basement".  Woolworths has long been removed so I never got a chance to check it out.  Is it in your book?  How about that box Federal courthouse ......I remember taking a tour in school that mentioned something about that building made to survive a nuclear attack. Don't remember much that was back in '89

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Has anyone on here built a shelter themselves or considered building one? I actually have considered building one just because I like to do construction projects like that. I remember I once saw a documentary on fallout shelters and they showed the largest private one, it was huge! And he built it all by himself. The problem I see of having one is what if your neighbors know about it and you only have enough supplies for your family? And a disaster is imminent

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Has anyone on here built a shelter themselves or considered building one?  I actually have considered building one just because I like to do construction projects like that.  I remember I once saw a documentary on fallout shelters and they showed the largest private one, it was huge!  And he built it all by himself.  The problem I see of having one is what if your neighbors know about it and you only have enough supplies for your family?  And a disaster is imminent

This scenario was a Twilight Zone Episode.

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Has anyone on here built a shelter themselves or considered building one?  I actually have considered building one just because I like to do construction projects like that.  I remember I once saw a documentary on fallout shelters and they showed the largest private one, it was huge!  And he built it all by himself.  The problem I see of having one is what if your neighbors know about it and you only have enough supplies for your family?  And a disaster is imminent

I saw that documentary. I think you entered it from several different places and he had false passages built in as well. He just kept adding on to it. It was freaky.

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I saw that documentary.  I think you entered it from several different places and he had false passages built in as well.  He just kept adding on to it.  It was freaky.

Yeah wasn't one in the bathroom, and another in the garage with a huge concrete plug on it. They were really scared of their neighbors wanting in.

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I grew up in North Carolina, and we had these things everywhere. With the hilly terrain of Western NC, there were some pretty neat designs, and many of them were accessible from the street, even though they went underground.

Needless to say, they were lots of fun to explore, but the survival wafers tasted tasted like total caca. The candy wasn't bad, though.

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  • 3 months later...

Well on the HAIF site (outside of the discussion forums)

http://houstonarchitecture.info/ShowBuilding.php?ID=90

it says that underneath the downtown Foley's there's a fairly substantial shelter.

In the 1960's, the city built a massive nuclear fallout shelter in case of attack by the Soviet Union. The cavernous shelter is big enough to hold 30,000 people in addition to the supplies they need to survive.

I have no idea whether this is true or not ------ frankly the 30K number seems a little dubious to me.

Might have to call shenanigans on that one.

Anyone out there know anything about this?

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  • 4 weeks later...
There is a fallout shelter in the tunnel between the old Harris County criminal and civil courts buildings. It runs under San Jacinto Street. You can see some neat old signs with arrows in the civil courts lobby.

I am in that tunnel all the time, including a couple of days ago. I've never noticed it, since I am usually pre-occupied with other things. I'll look closer next time I am down there. If the shelter is under the old Criminal Courts building, it probably got rehabbed as part of the Juvenile Court conversion. If it is under the old Civil Courts building, it's days may be numbered as well, since it will get a total redo next year.

Either way, I'll look for it and report back.

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  • 2 years later...

When I was in highschool at Waltrip High School, I heard that there was a fall out shelter/bomb shelter under the football field. I dont know how true this is and I never got the chance to go through the "tunnel" that supposedly exsists. But if this does exsist It would be something to try and look at probably is well preserved.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I tore down the old Institute of Religion building a few years ago in the Medical Center. It had a Civil Defense Fall Out Shelter symbol on the door leading to the basement. I should have saved it.

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Who needs a fall-out shelter anyway ? I still use the ol' "duck and cover" method. I have seen footage that you can actually use a picnic blanket to hide under, and TAH-DAH, it is a super shield ! :D

We were taught in elementary school to get under the desk, lot of help that would have been. :(

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There's a fallout shelter under St. Michael Church on Sage Rd. I was only down there once about 20 years ago. They used it for storage then, but the civil defense signs were still there.

Yeah, I was in grade school at St. Michael's when the church was built sometime around 1965. We all went down there one time for a drill and then that was the end of it.

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What about the one out near Tomball?

Didn't some rich mystery dude built one?

I think it's a data center now.

It's actually off of 105 in Montgomery County. I was in taht one when it was under construction. Pretty cool place - lots of room for several hundred people, including cells for unruly ones. It was built by a chinese millionaire, and was next door to the offices of his oil company. The entrances were in pagodas, and there was a very large pond above the shelter.

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When I was in highschool at Waltrip High School, I heard that there was a fall out shelter/bomb shelter under the football field. I dont know how true this is and I never got the chance to go through the "tunnel" that supposedly exsists. But if this does exsist It would be something to try and look at probably is well preserved.

I knew of some older guys who went to Waltrip when I was in grade school in the "fall out drill" days. Can't recall if they ever said about a underground shelter. But I think if the drills in the high schools were as often as the grade schools they would have said they went to the underground shelter instead of crouching under a desk.

If by possibility there is one the door to the tunnel would be in the swimming pool area. I remember there were many old locked and chained doors in the pool area... unusual for that time in the late 60's.

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It's actually off of 105 in Montgomery County. I was in taht one when it was under construction. Pretty cool place - lots of room for several hundred people, including cells for unruly ones. It was built by a chinese millionaire, and was next door to the offices of his oil company. The entrances were in pagodas, and there was a very large pond above the shelter.

It is a VERY interesting place. Continental Airlines is currently using it as a disaster recovery site. If downtown Houston is wiped out, Continental can continue operations from Weslin. This place is amazing - the security is SUPER tight - it was built as a fallout shelter - and intended to support 100's of people for many months. It had sleeping quarters, doctors offices, and as someone else mentioned - even a jail. Another thing I found interesting were are all the gun turrets located throughout the complex - in those pagodas. Continental has 'reconfigured' the site to support our business recovery operations (installed servers, work stations, ect.). ...but no guns. :P

I have a ton of pictures - here's a few....

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That's incredible, I had no idea anything like that was anywhere around here.

In the Briargrove neighborhood, I don't recall where exactly, there is a house that supposedly has a large fallout shelter underneath it. That lot and part of the lot next door, which is empty, are clearly elevated a few feet so it would make sense. Anyone know the place I'm thinking of?

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  • 2 months later...

yes, this is an old topic but with the ever present threat of hurricanes, are there places ready for hundreds of Houstonians to flock to?

40 plus years ago it straight to nearby high schools that seemed like a joke now. Where do you go when the police come hitting on your door in an approaching storm????

Especially for those inside the 610 loop near downtown. :mellow:

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Not for the publics use but out in Hockley in the middle of Tennwood (the old employees country club) sits a ranch style house that is actually an underground bunker that houses "Gas Control" which is the nerve center if you will of their gas pipeline. El Paso Energy now owns it and it was built during the cold war so they buried it under ground in case of nuclear attack. Not sure of its value though because all the gas pipelines it controls would have been blown to bits in the case of attack but at least the gas controllers would have been safe.

yes, this is an old topic but with the ever present threat of hurricanes, are there places ready for hundreds of Houstonians to flock to?

40 plus years ago it straight to nearby high schools that seemed like a joke now. Where do you go when the police come hitting on your door in an approaching storm????

Especially for those inside the 610 loop near downtown. :mellow:

Yeah, its called Dallas.

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It's actually off of 105 in Montgomery County. I was in taht one when it was under construction. Pretty cool place - lots of room for several hundred people, including cells for unruly ones. It was built by a chinese millionaire, and was next door to the offices of his oil company. The entrances were in pagodas, and there was a very large pond above the shelter.

105 and what, might I ask? I have a buddy who lives VERY close to 105 and 1774, and if I get to her place with enough time to spare, I'd love to do a drive-by.

HEEEEY, wait a second! Are we talking about Louis C. Kung? (Not to be confused with comedian Louie C.K., of course.)

'Cause if we are, I used to work with his son.

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That's why most of us have houses, or apartments, or something. I'd far rather take my chances in my house than in something Lee P. Brown commanded the building of.

Something built by Perry Homes, or something built by the Lee Brown Administration....

Frankly, that is not nearly as easy a question to answer as one might think.

So the large city of Houston has no real shelters for the public then it seems. So a mass exodus is the answer. Thats is a sad revelation. -_-

There are actually numerous schools built to withstand hurricanes, precisely so that they can be used as shelters...and more are being built this way daily.

So, no, the revelation is not sad at all.

Edited by RedScare
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Courthouse on shaw in pasadena had the sign as of a couple years ago. The Chronicle had an interesting article in their "texas" magazine on sunday several years ago on homes behind Meyerland with shelters, i believe off Jason street. i guess a builder included them with the house. Kinda pre-fab tubes.

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  • 1 month later...
Courthouse on shaw in pasadena had the sign as of a couple years ago. The Chronicle had an interesting article in their "texas" magazine on sunday several years ago on homes behind Meyerland with shelters, i believe off Jason street. i guess a builder included them with the house. Kinda pre-fab tubes.

There is an older house in Bellaire behind the high school on the corner of Pine and Ferris that I heard had a bomb shelter. There is a large hill in the front yard.

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It is a VERY interesting place. Continental Airlines is currently using it as a disaster recovery site. If downtown Houston is wiped out, Continental can continue operations from Weslin. This place is amazing - the security is SUPER tight - it was built as a fallout shelter - and intended to support 100's of people for many months. It had sleeping quarters, doctors offices, and as someone else mentioned - even a jail. Another thing I found interesting were are all the gun turrets located throughout the complex - in those pagodas. Continental has 'reconfigured' the site to support our business recovery operations (installed servers, work stations, ect.). ...but no guns. :P

I have a ton of pictures - here's a few....

There's a nice article about the Westlin Bunker elsewhere on this web site.

Channel 39 news did a story about it about six years ago. A couple of years ago the owners supplied me with pictures and information for the article linked above. I think it may have changed hands since then, but I'm not sure.

From the article:

Ling-Chieh Kung, nephew of Chiang Kai-sheck, came to Houston in the 1960's to make money during the city's oil boom. He founded Westlin Oil and settled in the outskirts of the northern suburb of Montgomery, and like many Americans at the time, feared nuclear war. He moved acres of earth, and spent millions of dollars to ensure that he could ride out any kind of cataclysm.
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  • 7 years later...

The Prudential Building (HMB) in the medical center was a fallout facility complete with cots and pantries full of "tinned" food.  The walls were double brick making it impossible to wire for data communication.   HMB came down in 2012 at a cost of $6M due to the nature of the bomb proof structural integrity.   There was a mural in the lobby painted by Peter Hurd worth $3M that was left in the building due to the expense of removing it.

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On 11/10/2005 at 9:41 AM, Crash said:

Well on the HAIF site (outside of the discussion forums)

http://houstonarchitecture.info/ShowBuilding.php?ID=90

it says that underneath the downtown Foley's there's a fairly substantial shelter.

In the 1960's, the city built a massive nuclear fallout shelter in case of attack by the Soviet Union. The cavernous shelter is big enough to hold 30,000 people in addition to the supplies they need to survive.

I have no idea whether this is true or not ------ frankly the 30K number seems a little dubious to me.

Might have to call shenanigans on that one.

Anyone out there know anything about this?

Intersting tidbit in this old thread; was there any evidence of it when they demolished Foley's  Macy's?

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40 minutes ago, Sisyphys said:

  HMB came down in 2012 at a cost of $6M due to the nature of the bomb proof structural integrity.  

 

There was a mural in the lobby painted by Peter Hurd worth $3M that was left in the building due to the expense of removing it.

Those 2 sentences.........they don't add up. (Excuse the play on words)

They spend 6 million on demolition but save a 3 million dollar piece of art? 

Why doesn't that sit right with me?

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On 6/18/2008 at 9:21 AM, SunKing said:

It is a VERY interesting place. Continental Airlines is currently using it as a disaster recovery site. If downtown Houston is wiped out, Continental can continue operations from Weslin. This place is amazing - the security is SUPER tight - it was built as a fallout shelter - and intended to support 100's of people for many months. It had sleeping quarters, doctors offices, and as someone else mentioned - even a jail. Another thing I found interesting were are all the gun turrets located throughout the complex - in those pagodas. Continental has 'reconfigured' the site to support our business recovery operations (installed servers, work stations, ect.). ...but no guns. :P

I have a ton of pictures - here's a few....

Weslin1.jpg

Weslin2.jpg

Weslin4.jpg

weslin06.jpg

weslin09.jpg

weslin16.jpg

weslin17.jpg

weslin18.jpg

 

I think fallout shelters like this are more realistic as a natural disaster shelter. Housing people in something like in the event of a nuclear incident seems like an exercise in futility.

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41 minutes ago, mkultra25 said:

 

and here it is, installed in the Artesia, NM public library:

 

Artesia_Library_Main.jpg

 

Artesia Library Mural

 

http://www.nmmagazine.com/article/?aid=94592#.WC4lYoWcGUk

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