A Neenah, Wisconsin, family was stunned to discover a Cold War shelter hidden behind a mysterious door in their backyard.
The Zwick family reportedly had no clue about the bunker for 10 years after moving into their house, and only opened the steel hatch that led to the underground shelter in 2010. The previous owner built the shelter to protect his family from a nuclear attack.
Inside the bunker, which was covered in five feet of water that had seeped in over time, were Army boxes packed with supplies needed to survive underground for two weeks.
“We assumed it was just this empty space,” Carol Hollar-Zwick said, the Daily Mail reported.
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The boxes were old military ammo crates that housed food and beverages including Hawaiian Punch.
“It was all of what you would expect to find in a 1960s fallout shelter. 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,” Zwick said.
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“It’s interesting that you can open up something and find 1960 inside of it.”
The contents of the boxes inside the shelter were incredibly well preserved thanks to airtight containers. The family donated the items they found in the shelter to the Neenah Historical Society. The Society used the items in an exhibit about the Cold War.
The previous owner of the home was Frank Pansch, a surgeon who built the shelter in 1960. The shelter was built two years before the Cuban Missile Crisis, which resulted in many Americans building their own fallout shelters on their properties.
In a similar incident in California, a homeowner discovered a fallout shelter in his backyard; the house was built in 1961.
“I didn’t expect it to look like this,” homeowner Chris Otcasek told CBS Los Angeles. “I guess I just figured it would be like a hole.”
Alvin Kaufman, the Woodland Hills home’s previous owner, was a nuclear engineer who built the shelter 15 feet underground.
“In that era, in the sixties, there was a much greater fear and feeling that a nuclear war was possible,” Kaufman’s daughter, Debra, said.