The Zwick family had been living in their home in Neenah, Wisconsin for over a decade. They always knew there was a metal door hidden in the ground in their backyard, but they never thought to explore it before. Then, one day, the family decided to crack open the metal hatch.
As it turns out, there was a Cold War-era fallout shelter buried in the backyard. A ladder led them down into a bunker, which was a treasure trove, full of items from the past.
Frank Pansch, a local surgeon, was the home’s previous owner. He built the shelter in 1960, two years before the Cuban Missile Crisis. During that time, many Americans were preparing themselves for nuclear warfare.
Most fallout shelters weren’t intended to protect a family from a blast, but to keep them safe when the area would be full of radiation and nuclear fallout.
This family was lucky to have such a once-in-a-lifetime discovery. They had a little piece of history hidden in their yard for years.
The heavy steel hatch opened up to reveal a 8-foot-by-10-foot bunker.
This ladder led down to the bunker, which was filled with water. There were boxes floating, filled with supplies
“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.” The shelter’s previous owner packed away food and snacks for their stay underground. The vintage products were the best part of the discovery.
“The family donated all of the items to the Neenah Historical Society.” The vault in their yard was a giant time capsule.
It’s unknown why the past owner decided he needed to store a phone directory in his fallout shelter