NEENAH, Wis. (WLUK) - Carol Hollar-Zwick says she knew a fallout shelter was in her new home's backyard when she moved in 1999. But she and her husband didn't open it until 2010.
"We were surprised to find cases of supplies floating in five feet of water. And even more surprising, when we opened them, they were dry," Hollar-Zwick said.
The shelter was built in 1960 by the late Frank Pansch.
"It's 11 feet deep, the walls are 8-inch reinforced concrete," Hollar-Zwick said.
"It's the height of the Cold War. Things were already tense between the U.S. and the Soviet Union," said Stephen Kercher, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
The supplies were supposed to support six people for at least two weeks.
"We found bedding, and food, clothing tools, and candles, buckets for water," Hollar-Zwick said.
From Kleenex to Corn Flakes, those supplies are now part of the "Take Cover Neenah" display. It is a joint project of the Neenah Historical Society and students from UW-Oshkosh.
The bunker has been re-created in the display.
"It was spartan," Kercher said. "It was not meant to provide any measure of luxury."
The times, too, have been re-created.
"It will really give people a sense of what it was like to live in 1960, to feel like they're in their living room, and suddenly they need to go to their fallout shelter," said Jane Lang, executive director of the Neenah Historical Society.
"This particular shelter cost around $1,200. Which, in today's terms, I've heard it would be about $15,000," Kercher said.
The bunker will soon be sealed for good.
"I think it's interesting to have a piece of history in your own backyard," Hollar-Zwick said. "It does take you back to this, to a time when people were really thinking about protecting themselves from nuclear war."
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