Down Memory Lane 11/10/11

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 20:00
Civil defense to start school shelters
(Condensed from the Oct. 24, 1962 Knik Arm Courier)

Gene Benito, Civil Defense Director for the Chugiak District, announced that work is beginning today on a school fall-out shelter, which would accommodate 500 people.

Two acres of land adjacent to the (old) Chugiak School have been allocated by the State of Alaska to the Dept. of Civil Defense for the purpose of constructing fall-out shelters.

Benito made the following statement to residents of the Chugiak Civil Defense District: “The time has come when we no longer have any choice in the matter of whether we should prepare for war or not. Our only hope to survive this day and age is for each and every individual to step forward and do his part to try to provide shelters for our community and schools. We are going to have to stop letting the dollar interfere with our better judgment, because a dead man can’t spend money.”

“We are fighting a time limit with the weather but we can use these next few months very effectively in getting organized and stock piling materials. We also tried to acquire land in the Eagle River area for school shelters but there are no lands available through the State close enough to assure occupancy. We will have to ask for donated land or for a reasonable lease.”

It would be a very good thought to know, if in the event of an attack, that your children will have adequate shelters at school. Our plan is to use Quonset huts with steel reinforcing over and center bracing in the middle. The Federal Government will stock any shelter that will accommodate fifty or more with two weeks rations per person. They will also supply radiation equipment plus extra rations, which will probably be available, figuring 10 sq. feet per person.”


Complied by Jinny Kirk and Dennis Bel Isle for the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society, which is located at 18606 Old Glenn Highway. Contact the society at [email protected], call 688-4706 or visit them online at

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