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The early 1960s are often remembered as a simpler, innocent time. But it also was a time when the world sat on the edge of nuclear armageddon as the U.S. and the former Soviet Union aimed their massive nuclear arsenals at each other, locked in a frosty Cold War.
Chuck Gallant remembers doing bomb drills at school in the early '60s, and he didn't find it unusual to see his dad bring home a fallout shelter (12 feet long and 8 feet in diameter) made of a corrugated steel to bury in their backyard in Charlotte, NC.
The five-bedroom house Gallant grew up in is now listed for $309,900. The shelter, which is intact, can be used as a man cave, workshop, storm shelter, or safe room, among other uses, Gallant says. Amazingly, cell phone reception is excellent there, so it could even be used as an office or den as well.
Once accessible only from outside the home, the shelter was given a vertical entrance through a closet in the home in the late 1960s, Gallant says.
The structure served a dual purpose in his younger days, Gallant says. "It was as much a thing for us to play in as a shelter. … It became a neighborhood hangout for us kids. We had the coolest thing in the neighborhood."
The 2,913-square-foot home includes two master suites -- "It's like two houses in one," says listing agent Geoff Campbell. Gallant's dad, a general contractor, added on to the home a few decades ago, nearly doubling the size of the home.
The house still holds a special place in his heart, Gallant says. And he's quick to correct a misnomer about his old play spot.
Don't call it a bomb shelter, he says. It was a fallout shelter where a family could stay for a week or two until after the nuclear fallout had settled. Thankfully his family never needed it for that purpose.