Fallout shelter at the Boron, CA borax mine

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Candace_66
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Fallout shelter at the Boron, CA borax mine

Post by Candace_66 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:08 pm

A few days ago, while driving back from the Bay area, I visited the big borax mine near Boron, CA. This mine is now owned by Rio Tinto.

http://www.borax.com/about-borax/visitor-center

While overlooking the pit from the visitor center, one can see an opening that looks like a mine adit. I marked it with a red arrow in this photo:

Image

However, the volunteer on duty said, it's not a mine adit. It is actually the portal to a giant underground shelter, that was once fully equipped and stocked to contain the populace of Edwards AFB, Boron, and surrounding areas. I was rather skeptical of this but only said that I'd never heard of it before.

Well, I have been able to find some validation for this. For example, this article on the Edwards AFB website indicates it was ready for use during the Cuban Missile Crisis:
http://www.edwards.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123298436
While the United States prepared for potential military action, back at Edwards, a community fallout shelter was readied in case nuclear war broke out.

The shelter, located in the Borax Mine, approximately 12 miles from Edwards, was equipped with enough water, food and medical services for 17,000 people. Also in the fallout shelter was an emergency command post.

Fortunately, the United States and Soviet Union came to a secret resolution October 28, 1962 to remove the missiles from Cuba, in exchange for the U.S. removing their missiles from Turkey. As a result, the fallout shelter, constructed by approximately 100 volunteer workers, never had to be used.
17,000 people is a lot to squeeze into an old mine. First question that comes to mind is how would ventilation and sanitation for that many people be handled? And the whole thing was built by 100 volunteers?! This doesn't quite add up in my mind. Anyway...

It's also mentioned in the Images of America - Around Boron book:

https://books.google.com/books?id=conTW ... er&f=false

Googling also turned up a couple of newspaper articles about this. However, I am reluctant to register on newspaper.com and fork over my CC info to them so I haven't been able to read those.

Anyone here know any more about this shelter? Would be nice to see some pics from the inside of it (I think there are a few with the newspaper articles). Quite frankly, Rio Tinto should offer tours of this shelter, it would be more interesting than what they do show you!

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Post by N0 02 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:29 pm

Very interesting. Thanks for posting I have nothing to add but will watch to see what else is posted.

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Post by Dezdan » Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:39 pm

Shelters like that are spread out throughout CA and NV, almost all of them where situated in old mines. Most have been sealed up or destroyed by looters.

As far as ventilation, that was a key factor in strategically locating a shelter and picking the right mine. Surveys were done on many mines and only a few became shelters.

Sanitation; drums containing water were provided underground and when those were emptied, there were toilet seats designed to fit the drums or there were dedicated sanitation kits like this one we found in one shelter:
Image

100 volunteers sounds like too many people, though it depends on how many supplies were trucked in. And as far as housing 17000 people, seems like WAY to many for a shelter!

There is one shelter near Death Valley, and possibly another in Death Valley, though it is unknown if the supplies currently in second location were moved there from the first after the cold war ended or if it was a true civil defense shelter...

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Post by Wingman » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:40 pm

Where (more or less) were the ones in and near Death Valley? Were they both made from abandoned mines?

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Post by Aedwards27 » Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:58 am

Wingman wrote:Where (more or less) were the ones in and near Death Valley? Were they both made from abandoned mines?

Neal
One in Butte Valley, I believe. Don't know where the other may be...I'm guessing around China Lake?

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Post by N0 02 » Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:25 pm

Just adds a little more allure and mystery to Death Valley. Thanks for the information and picture.

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Post by Wingman » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:21 pm

Butte Valley? I've been all over Butte Valley and have never seen a hole big enough to hold more than 1 person! Access would also be a problem in an emergency -- there are only two realistic ways in and out, and they have always been iffy for most vehicles.

Is there anything published or on the web about this shelter in Butte Valley?

Neal

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Post by D.A. Wright » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:32 pm

There's a large mine east of Independence where Mazourka Canyon wash enters Owens Valley. I can't think of it's name currently (Ironsides?) but it was classified as a shelter during the cold war.
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Post by Sparky of SoCal » Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:31 pm

D.A. Wright wrote:There's a large mine east of Independence where Mazourka Canyon wash enters Owens Valley. I can't think of it's name currently (Ironsides?) but it was classified as a shelter during the cold war.
For the effort to develop and stock it. The actual remoteness at that time period, who do you think the intended people it would be available to would be. It seems to really utilize it for max results you would get tucked in and settled the hit the launch button.

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Post by Dezdan » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:20 am

Wingman wrote:Where (more or less) were the ones in and near Death Valley? Were they both made from abandoned mines?
More or less in the desert... ;-) Both were in mines... Both mines now sealed up...
Aedwards27 wrote:One in Butte Valley, I believe. Don't know where the other may be...
Notta in butte valley..
Wingman wrote:Butte Valley? I've been all over Butte Valley and have never seen a hole big enough to hold more than 1 person! Access would also be a problem in an emergency -- there are only two realistic ways in and out, and they have always been iffy for most vehicles.

Is there anything published or on the web about this shelter in Butte Valley?
He is probably thinking of this shelter, not related to the Civil Defense Shelters: http://dezdan.com/california/butte-vall ... y-shelter/

For those interested, here is what a survey would look like; this mine outside of Vegas never became a shelter and is likely still sealed, so no risk of sharing this: Shelter Survey (2.5mb image).

Some maps of shelters that did become a reality, show where supplies were to be stored, how to park, and living quarters within the shelters - A neat bit of US history.

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Post by Aedwards27 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:02 pm

Yes, that is the one I was thinking of.

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Post by Candace_66 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:27 am

:lol: "Got some Bud and Schlitz, we're ready for anything!!"

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