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Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

Picturing the Past 174: Fallout shelters

Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013, at 2:52 PM

The W.P. Cooper Building, bearing a fallout shelter sign, as it and the Dixie Hotel were being demolished in June 1978. (T-G file photo)
Remember this building? It's the W.P. Cooper Building, which went down along with the Dixie Hotel on the north side of the Shelbyville square in early June 1978. Can any of you remember what businesses were in the building over the years? Seems to me that its final occupant may have been an antique store, and I may be wrong.

But there's something more threatening mounted on the building.

Look at the far left of the photo, just to the top left of a door frame, and you may have to look closely. You'll see a very faded 'FALLOUT SHELTER' sign, designated by the three upside-down triangles within a circle.

Go here for the usual bigger view.

Back in the days when a nuclear war was considered much more of a possibility - or at least on everyone's minds more than today - those signs were commonplace. It seems like the courthouse, and maybe the library, were fallout shelters. I seem to remember several other buildings around the square having those signs.

I understand they kept stocks of basic foods such as crackers, water, soup, etc. for years in those shelters.

Anyone remember where the other shelters were in Bedford County?

Picturing the Past is featured regularly in this blog. Reader submissions are welcome.

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I remember going to the Gunter Building to register in 1952 when I turned 18. It's what every young man did, no questions asked. Maybe it would be a good thing for every young person to give a couple of years of service to their country. I don't know.

-- Posted by Oldbbguy on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 10:06 AM

tenn49, from roughly the mid fifties through the early sixties the draft board office was located on the west side of the square, in the Gunter building. Outside that time frame I have no idea where else, if anywhere, it might have been located. Seems that I recall reading something several years ago that stated that Gladys Stanton was the only office manager that ever occupied that position in Shelbyville, but don't hold me to that, this old memory isn't what it used to be, and it never was much sharper than a clod of dirt.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Thu, Jan 24, 2013, at 10:36 AM

Was the Selective Service Draft Board office located in this building? If not it was very close to this location. Mrs. Stanton the office manger for many years.

-- Posted by tenn49 on Tue, Jan 22, 2013, at 4:38 PM

leeiii...you have opened up a box of "old memories" now by mentioning Mrs. Price and Mr. Paty. I didn't think anybody remembered those two strong youth leaders except me and luckylu. I can picture them and our "folk games" in the basement right now. Skip --to--my--loo!

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Fri, Jan 11, 2013, at 3:49 PM

I also remember Burkhalters being in this building. LivingInTheCounty you made a smile come to my face when you mentioned the Youth group at the FUMC. I have many great memories of those meetings and of Mrs. Price, and Mr. Paty. Good days for sure.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 1:51 PM

W. P. Cooper owned this building and had his law office on the second floor. Jim Burns and Nowlin Taylor also had their offices there at one time.

-- Posted by luckylu on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 11:14 AM

Was the "W.P.Cooper" at the top of the building for William Prentiss Cooper? If so, why.

-- Posted by decorate1956 on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 2:39 AM

Was the basement of the courthouse ever a designated fallout shelter?

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 10:09 PM

David, you dont know how much I enjoy these Picturing the Past segments. It is the first thing I look for on Wednesday when I read the paper!

I seem to remember there being a fallout shelter in the basement of FUMC or am I thinking of this building? I remember it was close to the bottom of the stairs as the basement was where we meet for youth group on Sunday nights.

-- Posted by LivingInThe County on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 3:49 PM

Hey Bo I guess John F's Furniture used the same signs for more than 4 years.LOL

-- Posted by kings11 on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 3:34 PM

The basement at Argie Cooper Public Library used to have the "Fallout Shelter" designation. There were still some of the big supply barrels down there, when I worked there in the 80's.

-- Posted by cherylrichardson on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 3:10 PM

I remember Burkhalter's. It seemed that store had a "Going Out of Business" sign on the building for three or four years bnefore finally closing.

-- Posted by bomelson on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 2:41 PM

Burkhalter's used to be in that building. That was back in the 50's.

-- Posted by DonnaGale on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 2:26 PM

I remember an antique store being in there,also I think the City of Shelbyville rented it for a business office at one time.

-- Posted by kings11 on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 10:21 AM

The old Central High/Harris Middle School had a fall out shelter sign.

-- Posted by southernsioux on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 8:46 AM

It was not in "that" bulding, but the corner next to the hotel courtyard of the red brick hotel building.

-- Posted by decorate1956 on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 7:19 AM

Kitty's beauty shop was one.

-- Posted by decorate1956 on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 7:17 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.