Inventory of Park View Area Fallout Shelter Signs

Map of area fallout shelters based on the June 1965 "Community Shelter Plan Study for Washington, DC."

Here’s an interesting project that’s come to my attention recently. A few members on the Landmarks Committee are trying to preserve fallout shelter signs in D.C.

To help get the word out and put fallout shelters in their historical context, they have created District Fallout, a Web site devoted to fallout shelters and local Cold War history.

The site states: “Today, only a fraction of the now faded fallout shelter signs remain on D.C. façades, including apartments, churches, schools and federal buildings. The terrifying significance of the sign has since faded as well, but not its historical importance. Fallout shelter signs in the District of Columbia must be preserved as monuments to one of the most frightening periods in American history and as a reminder of the threats we still face today.”

Among the more interesting features of the site are the map of fallout shelters in 1965 and the video below.

According to Landmark Committee member Adam Irish, initial surveys of buildings designated as fallout shelters indicate that just 5-10% of shelter signs have survived. In doing a survey of signs in the immediate area surrounding Park View, 5 out of approximately 20 signs still exist, or 25%.

You can read more about this at GreaterGreaterWashington and see an inventory of greater Park View area fallout shelter locations and current sign status is after the jump.

Signs starting from the north and moving south.

  • Petworth Baptist Church, northeast corner of 7th and Randolph — sign lost
  • The New Hampshire Apartments, 3800 N.H. Ave. & the Quincy Apartments, 811 Quincy St. — signs lost
  • Paramount Apartment, 829 Quincy Street — sign lost
  • Raymond School 10th & Spring Road — sign present

    Fallout sign at Raymond School

  • Apartment building, 739 Newton Place — sign lost
  • Park View School — all signs lost
  • Apartment building, 1021 Park Road — sign present

    1021 Park Road

  • Arcade Sunshine Laundry 701 Lamont — sign present
  • Sign at Lamont Lofts, 701 Lamont Street

  • Arcade Sunshine Laundry 735 Lamont — sign lost
  • Apartment building, 732 Lamont — sign lost
  • Apartment building, 526 Kenyon — sign lost
  • Apartment building, 1111 Columbia Rd. — sign present

    The apartment at 1111 Columbia Road

  • Bruce School, Kenyon and Sherman — sign present

    The former Bruce school also still has its fallout shelter sign

  • Monroe School, Irving Street — building razed, sign lost
  • Girard House Apts., 744 Girard St. — sign lost
  • Cook Hall, Howard University — sign lost
  • Wilson Teachers College, 11th & Harvard — sign lost

While the Park View School no longer has its signs, I have found evidence of three signs, which are illustrated below.

The north entrance to the original Park View School still has sign fragments attached to the building

This photograph of the south entrance to the Park View School dates to 1964(Image from MLK Washingtoniana Collection)

This image of Robert Kennedy at the Park View School in 1963 shows the fallout shelter sign at the School's main/east entrance (Image from MLK Washingtoniana Collection)


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5 Comments on “Inventory of Park View Area Fallout Shelter Signs”

  1. Angry Parakeet Says:

    I think there is a real bunker type shelter at the new Haynes charter school on Kansas Ave – I wish I had taken a picture.
    By the way, you had commented on a lack of the old fire posts that the city is decorating. I saw yet another severely damaged one on Georgia Ave. last week – cars crash into everything in this neighborhood.

  2. MBG Says:

    A video on fallout shelter from RT News? which
    …brings the Russian view on global news…
    I wonder if that’s ironic or perverse or subversive. Perhaps all three.

  3. andrew Says:

    Very cool stuff! And also funny that RT did a thing on it. They’re usually very subtly anti-America, but this one seems fair enough.

  4. Mr. T in DC Says:

    The Irving Station condos, at 13761 Irving Street NW, used to have a fallout shelter on the facade:

  5. […] I’ve long felt that this is a beautiful property in need repair, and am pleased that restoration rather than the wrecking ball is in its future. Readers may also recall that the building was once a designated fallout shelter. […]

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