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RE: [coldwarcomms] Going underground: Extensive Cold War-era bomb shelters dot the valley | Las Vegas CityLife

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  • Albert LaFrance
    More on the Spencer St. house; check out the “Underground House” photo gallery:
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 7, 2013

      More on the Spencer St. house; check out the “Underground House” photo gallery:






      From: coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com [mailto:coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mike Cowen
      Sent: Sunday, July 07, 2013 11:42 PM
      To: coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [coldwarcomms] Going underground: Extensive Cold War-era bomb shelters dot the valley | Las Vegas CityLife



      Oops! Scratch that. Hidden in plain sight...

      At 08:22 AM 7/6/2013, you wrote:

      >Going underground: Extensive Cold War-era bomb
      >shelters dot the valley | Las Vegas CityLife
      >Ever wonder why basements are rare in Southern
      >Nevada, while they’re fairly common in other parts of the country?
      >Most are quick to point to the stubborn caliche
      >sedentary rock concentrated in local soil, but
      >that’s only part of it. The other reason, says
      >Courtney Mooney, historian with the city of Las
      >Vegas, is that the water table in Las Vegas is
      >high, and subterranean structures often flood.
      >It’s why there aren’t many underground
      >parking lots in Las Vegas; they’re just too problematic.
      >Still, the impracticality of building below
      >earth didn’t discourage anyone from doing so
      >during the Cold War scare in the 1940s and
      >1950s. Clark County Heritage Museum
      >Administrator Mark Hall-Patton guesses there
      >were 70 or so designated shelters in the valley,
      >an estimate he gathers from pins on an old
      >bomb-shelter map. “The overall idea was that
      >we could have enough space for everyone in the valley,” he says.
      >Many shelters were designated casino basements,
      >others were homes, abandoned mines, bridges such
      >as the Charleston Underpass and at least one
      >bunker that was built specifically as a fallout shelter.
      >Arden Civil Defense shelter is the best known
      >and only existing bunker today, says Deputy Fire
      >Chief Emergency Manager Fernandez Leary, though
      >it’s been “mothballed” and is out of
      >service. Learly says there were likely others in
      >the valley, but nobody seems to recall where.
      >Hall-Patton describes the shelter, which is
      >located in Arden, off of Blue Diamond Road, as
      >“a hole in the ground lined with railroad
      >ties.” It was meant as a headquarters for
      >local officials to meet in the event of an attack.
      >Surprisingly, the shelter was only dismantled 15
      >or so years ago, says Hall-Patton, whose museum received some of the supplies.
      >In the case of a Soviet attack, locals planned
      >to flock to casinos for safety. Most casinos had shelters, Hall-Patton says.
      >Dennis McBride, director of the Nevada State
      >Museum, says the shelters remained stocked into
      >the ’70s and even ’80s. In 1995, the Sands
      >casino was cleared out, and the museum received
      >a sanitation kit, dated 1962, that included gloves and a commode toilet seat.
      >Mooney says Golden Gate Casino, the oldest
      >surviving hotel-casino property in Las Vegas,
      >was designed with a basement that serves as an
      >underground shelter with tunnels that still
      >exist today. “And who knows where the tunnels go,” she says.
      >McBride, who grew up in Boulder City, laughs
      >when he thinks about the town’s emergency plan
      >— particularly a little known, largely fllawed
      >protocol. In the event of an attack, people were
      >supposed to drive to Hoover Dam, to hide out inside the dam structure.
      >“You look at it now and think, how
      >ridiculous,” McBride says. “Six thousand
      >people trying to get down into the dam with the
      >mushroom cloud in the background.”
      >Perhaps the most famous is the expansive
      >underground home at Flamingo Road and Spencer
      >Street, a luxurious,
      >several-thousand-square-foot dwelling built by
      >businessman Girard Henderson. The house rests
      >below a normal-looking home, and features a hot
      >tub, sauna, pool, putting green and guest house.
      >Even “outdoor” lights change to mimic dawn, daytime and dusk.
      >In addition to Henderson’s lavish shelter,
      >modest households also built small bunkers.
      >Lindy DeMunbrun of the Clark County Heritage
      >Museum and McBride recall a house on Avenue A in
      >Boulder City that had a backyard bunker. McBride
      >says it was a concrete locker with a concrete
      >dome roof, furnished with camp beds and stocked
      >with foods like beef jerky and canned milk.
      >DeMunbrun describes it as resembling “big corrugated pipes with a lid.”
      >Mooney says she knows of three or four
      >underground shelters in the John S. Park
      >neighborhood, dug in the late 1940s and early ’50s.
      >Abandoned mines were commonly stocked with
      >supplies in case of a nuclear attack. One was
      >located in Blue Diamond, and was only cleared
      >out about a decade ago. Some supplies are on
      >display at the county and state museums. Nevada
      >State Museum has an old first-aid kit.
      >Hall-Patton says mines today are likely still
      >loaded with forgotten supplies. “They’re old
      >supplies, not things you’d want to be using,” he says.
      >Railroad tunnels overlooking the lake and
      >underground tunnels made by engineering companies were also potential shelters.
      >“When the Cold War came they just assumed
      >they’d be great shelters,” McBride says. “You have to laugh.”
      >Boulder City maintains disaster shelters in
      >various public buildings, such as the recreation
      >center, multipurpose room and Boulder Creek Golf
      >Course. “It depends on what’s happening,” says Fire Chief Chuck Gebhart.
      >In Clark County, Leary says, “shelter in
      >place” is the new standard. If a bomb dropped
      >on Las Vegas, those who survived the initial
      >blast should remain in structures that aren’t
      >damaged or blown over. But not all homes are
      >created equal, Leary says. Single-story,
      >single-family stucco homes with no basements are
      >the least safe; concrete-fortified buildings or
      >multistory homes with basements are ideal.
      >The link contains a photo the underground house on Spencer Street
      >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      Mike Cowen Practice random acts of kindness
      and selfless acts of beauty.
      mcowen@... -Anonymous

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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