Dating fallout 3
Our search for answers became a lesson in the slipperiness of history: When the fallout shelter was built, the elementary school was called John Quincy Adams.
When it later merged with another school, all records of the previous incarnation were jettisoned.
But the other group contained children, they were told, so they voted to let them in. One of the students, a boy whose father had been Kennedy’s assistant press secretary, started feeling lethargic.
Who this shelter was intended for, who the stuff belongs to now. It was 1961 and Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev was threatening to cut off access to West Berlin.
We want to understand, in a grimly practical way, what it felt like the last time the country saw bunkers as a solution because we were all going to be blasted to holy hell. “We do not want to fight, but we have fought before,” the president said in a July speech.
Originally, when the government sent surveyors to find suitable shelter locations, they sought buildings that had a protection factor of 200, meaning that anyone in the shelter would be 200 times less exposed to radiation than a person outside, in the elements.
But the surveyors didn’t find enough spaces, so the criterion were expanded: The fallout shelters at Gordon Junior High and Adams Elementary could have had a protection factor as low as 40, which mightn’t have killed you, but it could have made you sick.
While rifling through DCPS archives, we started to notice correspondence between the Office of Civil Defense and Gordon Junior High School in the Glover Park neighborhood. The only highly publicized trials in fallout shelters had been conducted on naval officers who, it could be argued, might not represent the average American. An article was written about the proposed experiment in the Evening Star, and caused a minor uproar.