Imagine buying a home and realizing later that it held a hidden treasure deep below the ground. Something in between a hidden treasure and a magnificent hideout.
For Jon Simms of Tuscan, Arizona, this fantasy became a reality when he double checked the blueprints to his newly purchased home.
To his surprise, when he was looking over the blueprints, he realized there was an extra room to his new pad. The only issue was, the layout said it was in the backyard.
But when he double checked his spacious back patio, he couldn’t see anything. This meant only one thing–it was deep underground.
The obvious next step was to grab a shovel and start digging where X marked the spot.
As he started digging, he became suspicious as he uncovered nothing but dirt. Could this all be a misunderstanding? Was he even in the right spot?
He peered over the plans once again and thought perhaps they were just wrong. The house and plans were both formed in the 1960’s, so there was a good chance that it no longer existed.
But the excitement filled him and he decided to give it one last try. After all, if he did have a secret dungeon hidden below, it was going to be the talk of the town, and it was definitely going to add value to his new home.
He obviously wanted to make sure he was digging in the right spot so he didn’t completely destroy his backyard.
He marked a few spots with an X to ensure he was in the general vicinity of where the hidden treasure might be.
As he kept digging, he realized there was something hidden beneath the soil.
As he moved away more and more dirt, he came across a giant metal cap, which seemed to be concealing something. When he lifted the lid he got the surprise of his life.
He had a few friends help him lift the lid as it weighed more than he ever imagined, he realized that he had stumbled upon a fallout shelter from the Cold War.
The weight of the lid suggested that whoever built it wanted to make sure once they were inside nothing or no one could enter this sanctuary of sorts. And they did a good job because it took an entire team of adult men, an iron bar, and some heavy duty ropes to get this bad boy off.
Many families build fallout shelters in their backyards as international tensions rose during the 1960’s. This shelter looked to be abandoned long ago, and it was in some serious need of some TLC.
It was so disheveled there was no way Jon could walk down the spiral staircase, at least at first.
After clearing some metal and rock debris from the staircase he was able to wiggle his way inside. To his surprise, he found a room off to the side.
But before he could really figure out what was inside, he knew he had to be careful as the spiral staircase was completely rusted and on the verge of collapsing under his weight.
Although it was in rough shape, he could tell that in its prime, it was a wonderful piece of construction. Someone had spent some serious time planning and building this masterpiece.
This is when ideas began to race through his mind of how he could restore it to its former glory.
As he began to look around he noticed that there was an air vent, built to supply fresh air to the underground shelter.
Although this wouldn’t have worked during a nuclear event, it would have kept whoever safe during regular warfare. There were other details built in suggesting the shelter was made for longterm habitation.
Jon found survival supplies inside the dwelling, many of which were now units to consume but now we’re going to make great props once he rebuilt it.
Among the supplies were multiple cans of “fresh” drinking water that were still full. Thankfully they were full because it meant that no one had to need to use the emergency shelter.
He also found giant cans of wafers that were basically nutritional supplements meant to keep someone alive in desperate measures.
Although they were now unfit to consume, just like the water, they were pieces of history that could be used as props, or at the very least talking points.
Luckily, Jon had some handy and enthusiastic friends because getting this shelter cleaned up was going to be a fulltime job. They carried bucket after bucket of broken cement and dirt up to the surface through the rusted stairs.
It was hard work, but they knew it was going to be worth it once they were done. After all, they were sitting on a piece of US history.
After hours of clearing the small space, Jon and his friends realized there was a lot more space than they originally thought.
The walls and floors were now completely clear. The doorway, although small and rounded, revealed a good sized room. His ideas began to flourish.
First thing was first before he could get to the fun part, the cosmetic designs, he had to replace the stairs.
Not only were they completely rusted and ready to fall apart at any moment, but they also had nails and jagged edges busting out of every corner. Obviously a high risk for anyone trying to enter the underground layer.
Staying true to the original design, Jon replaced the stairs with and center beam with sturdy brand new metal with a fresh coat of white paint.
He wanted to keep the spiral design the same as it was not only efficient, but it added an element of design to the entrance. The stairs were just the beginning though.
Of course, it wasn’t all just hard work. John and his friends had a fun time excavating the project, too.
Keeping the humor going helped the team stay motivated as they realized this was going to be a long and expensive job.
In fact, the job was getting rather expensive. Jon had just purchased the home and was having a tough time scrounging up money to restore it properly. That’s when he decided to make a Go-Fund Me page to get a little help from interested folks all around the world, “Hi, I’m John and I need some help restoring a vintage Fallout Shelter that I have uncovered in my backyard,” he wrote.
The internet community came together and donated enough money to keep the project going. In return, they got updates on the process, including detailed photos.
Once the stairs were complete Jon knew the entire entrance needed to be revamped. It started out as just a dirt hole and he wanted to make it more appealing, so he got to work.
What he created was definitely more appealing, and it gave the entire shelter a new vibe. It wasn’t an easy job by any means, and it took effort from the whole team.
They created a new lid out of cement, making sure their measurements were just right. As you can see it took careful planning but needed to be done.
Next, they filled the rest of the space with wet concrete to make a sturdy and attractive platform.
While they were creating the entrance they realized they needed to reconstruct the airways because they were no longer sturdy and if they collapsed it would be a major set back to their project.
Thankfully it was rather easy, and they were able to hide the pipes under the concrete of the entrance.
Once finished, the opening looked secure and well done, as the men did a completely professional level job. It now had a uniform look that told you exactly where the shelter was.
Now that the entrance was done, it was time to spiff up the inside. Here comes the fun part.
The dome-like ceiling of the shelter begged for a unique decor to match it. Jon thought long and hard about what to do with his newly discovered underground layer.
Should he build a one of a kind man cave? Or perhaps a game room? Maybe it was best left as a shelter?
He didn’t want to rush the planning as this had become a very important project to him.
He looked over the plans and the cleared out spaces realizing he could do just about anything he wanted because the space was rather large.
The news of Jon’s new discovery quickly spread all around town and soon enough local TV stations came around to interview him and ask him about his bomb shelter. It turned out, homes all over the area had these shelters build in their backyards.
During the Cold War, it was as common as having a swimming pool installed as many families thought they would need them one day. Luckily, they were never used and many were never even completed, much like Jons.
After doing some research, Jon realized that the area of Tuscan had 18 ballistic missiles at one point. They were capable of firing in 58 seconds and could reach halfway across the world in no time.
It’s easy to forget just how panic-stricken many American families were for nearly 40 years.
After realizing the historical significance of his shelter, he wanted to connect with others who had found similar layers in their yards.
So after posting about his find on Reddit, it went viral. He chatted with others like him and solidified his design plans for his newly renovated shelter. It was going to take a long time to come together, but he knew it would be worth it.
With his new found information, he knew he wanted to keep the Cold War theme a central part of the design.
He decided to start collecting memorabilia and all the furniture as he could so he could make the shelter as historically accurate as possible.
His man cave will be historically accurate as far as the decor goes, but it’s still a work in progress. Like fine wine, this project will only get better with time.
As soon as he updates his posts with more information, we will fill you in and show you all the glorious details of this fallout shelters new look!