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Time to head to the bomb shelter

By Staff | Aug 24, 2014

I remember growing up in San Diego, Calif., in the 1950s and watching a neighbor down the street dig a big hole in his backyard. It was so large that between the hole itself and the dirt beside it, it took up the whole yard.

Everyone wondered what the heck he was doing. Turns out, he was building a bomb shelter.

When the Russians hit us with A-bombs, he was going to be ready and take his family to safety in their backyard bomb shelter.

To his neighbors it was unnerving. To kids my age, it was scary. How come we didn’t have a bomb shelter in our back yard, Dad? Where are we going to hide?

I had not thought about the bomb shelter in many, many years until two weeks ago when I received a phone call at the Register from Mary Klein.

She wondered if I wanted to see a bomb shelter. A bomb shelter here in Blue Earth.

I was intrigued. I said yes.

Mary and her husband, Bill, live on Linton Street. They had recently purchased their next door neighbor’s house and were having it torn down.

The house came complete with a bomb shelter (or also called a fallout shelter), one which was probably built in the 1950s.

It had an entrance to it from the small, unfinished basement. It was sealed with a heavy metal door, possibly lead lined to keep out the radioactive fallout.

The place obviously had not been opened in years. It had been built with concrete block walls. There were four bunk bed cots inside, a sink, shelves, some type of heater and a place where a toilet once had been.

It was dank, wet, smelly and dirty and small. I can’t imagine a family of four living in it for any length of time.

There was an escape hatch, a small shaft that came up to a sealed exit in the backyard. And, there were two metal pipe air vents sticking up in the yard as well.

The Kleins had the excavator remove the bomb shelter. They thought it was pretty creepy. I had to agree.

However, it turns out this wasn’t the only bomb shelter in Blue Earth.

Public Works supervisor Jamie Holland says there is another one deep underground below a house on 14th Street. Holland has to inspect these bunkers if they are hooked up to city sewer and water even if they are not being used.

Now days, with all the violence and war going on around the world, maybe it is not so dumb to have a bomb (or fallout) shelter handy.

In fact, I hear they are becoming popular again.

Grab your shovel.