The Zwick family had been living in their Neenah, Wisconsin home for over ten years, and though they had always known there was a metal door hidden in their backyard, they had never really thought to investigate it. One day, however, their curiosity got the better of them and they decided to open it up and see what they would find. They never expected the hatch would lead to a Cold War-era fallout shelter, and it was hiding right underneath their yard all these years.
Time to see what’s behind this metal door.
The hatch revealed an 8-by-10-foot nuclear fallout shelter.
A ladder led to a now somewhat-flooded bunker. There were boxes of supplies floating around too.
The previous owner had packed away enough snacks and food to last for an extended underground stay.
"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."
Perhaps the best part was finding old, vintage brands and products.
The Zwicks decided to donate their findings to the Neenah Historical Society.
In a way, the fallout shelter was like a giant time capsule, sending parts of the past into the future to be discovered by new generations.
The previous owner of the home was Frank Pansch, a local surgeon who built the shelter in 1960, just two years prior to the infamous Cuban Missile Crisis. Paranoia over impending nuclear warfare was at an all-time high in those days. Shelters like this were popular additions to homes. Though they weren’t designed to withstand a direct blast, they would at least keep a family safe from the subsequent radioactive fallout.