While discussing housing in the Tempe area recently, the topic was brought up about fallout shelters (also known as bomb shelters or “safe rooms”). Some of the older neighborhoods in the Phoenix area and typically houses built in the 50’s and 60’s have the occasional fallout shelter buried in the yard, but it really is a rare find in Phoenix and its surrounding cities. In my search I found some very interesting articles and facts you might not know about bomb shelters in Arizona.
First, there are actually houses in the Central Phoenix area (Arcadia and “Arcadia Lite”) as well as some houses in Tempe and Mesa that have bomb shelters that are decades old. Some are buried under pools, some buried under driveways, and some are buried under landscaping, while others are accessible and obvious. Here is one example of a gentleman who found one under his driveway in Mesa, thanks to neighbors who informed him it was there. It even made the news in the UK . “Shelters declined considerably in the 1980s, and they took a fatal blow when the Soviet Union and its Communist allies began collapsing at the decade’s end.” (Groff, Garin. 2003. East Valley Tribune). In the 50’s and 60’s there were bomb shelters throughout the valley, under banks and commercial buildings, and all around ASU’s Tempe campus.
Why would people want a house with a bomb shelter? They make great wine cellars! Read about this California couple who purchased a home knowing there was a fallout shelter on site. After they closed on the home purchase they descended into the shelter to find it full of preserved vintage items. Take a look at this very interesting article and even more interesting photos of the items in the shelter.
Do you know of a house with a fallout shelter in your neighborhood?
**This article was originally posted by Cara Czarnecki on Examiner.com in 2016**