Wednesday, August 17, 2011

[Update December 2, 2011]:Reseda Bomb Shelter Mid Century Modern Home For Sale

[Update: December 2, 2011]: This home sold on November 22, 2011 for $355,000 which was $17,500 less than the original list price and took approximately 4 months to complete. We wish the new owners many good times with their bomb shelter. Hopefully they can share stories on how it has been utilized. 

[Update: August 20, 2011]: So I was curious about this "bomb shelter" in Reseda that I decided to visit the open house today. The house itself brings in a lot of light due to extensive use of windows and feels very open  and airy with the high ceilings which are typical of Mid Century Modern homes. The home originally contained a garage but was converted to a master suite with a bathroom which naturally creates more living space. So instead of the garage there are three spaces under the carport as per city code, well you only need two spaces.  

LA Curbed.com posted some pics of an original bomb shelter from a contributor in Austin at the Robnett Residence which is also a Mid Century Modern home. Even the food products and various supplies and tools are original, looks more like a museum piece than anything. So the owner has done a magnificent job of maintaining that shelter in its original condition as a reminder of the Cold War era times. You can check the pics here.

So the bomb shelter is next to the pool and is completely different than the Robnett residence. This shelter looks like a storage shed with open space in the middle and shelving on the left and right sides. Other than that it was completely empty and not as nostalgic as the Robnett residence. At any rate, its still an original bomb shelter in the San Fernando Valley, so that in itself is awesome. In the pics, you will notice board games, those belonged to the Realtor's sons who were hanging out in there all day so its not part of the shelter. If I was a child, I would be in there too. So here are those much anticipated bomb shelter pics: (also, I was told by the Realtor that the flipper has before and after pics of the renovation posted on his website, so when we get that link, it will be shared here)



 [Original Post]:


While reading the many fine articles at la.curbed.com, we came across a rather interesting and unique mid-century modern home which is our favorite type of architecture that makes us cringe when we see all those bland McMansions being erected everywhere we go.

This Mid Century Modern home is in the more common and ordinary area of Reseda. What really caught our attention with this home is the fact that it comes with an underground bomb shelter. There is an open house this Saturday, August 20 from 1:00PM - 5:00PM. Its unfortunate no pics were taken of the bomb shelter.

According to LA Curbed:
While our knowledge of Reseda is more limited than that of the dog featured in these listing photos, the copy's assertion that the mid-century modern is "not your typical valley home" certainly seems plausible. After all, how many other houses out there have bomb shelters? Located a few blocks south of Cal State Northridge, the 1,675 square foot residence features three bedrooms, two baths, vaulted beam ceilings, a fireplace, and pool along with the aforementioned shelter, which the listing helpfully suggests could be turned into a wine cellar. Last sold in October 2010 for $268,000, it's now asking $372,5000.
I disagree that this home is "not your typical Valley home" as the realtor's listing suggests. In fact, many Valley homes are mid century modern architecture or were originally built that way until some started modifying but you can still see the originations of the modern features. The fact that it contains a bomb shelter is nothing new either. This goes back to the Cold War era when America was booming and growing with all the GI's coming back home from WW2 to raise families.

During this time, there was still the looming threat of Russia or some other enemy launching an all out nuclear attack. This was reality back then and people had to prepare sort of like how we prepare for terrorist attacks today or earthquakes. So installing bomb/fallout shelters in your backyard was common especially in L.A. since we are the nearest major metropolitan area next to the Russians.

According to property records, this home was last purchased in 1969 for the measly sum of $5500 by Thomas S Porter who recently passed away with the home being sold in Probate Court to a flipper who restored it to a very fine and liveable condition while keeping the bomb shelter intact, so we give them props for doing that.

There are still remnants today of the Cold War era in the Valley. You can find air raid sirens (check out the interactive map and LA Times article) at street intersections like on Corbin & Devonshire and Winnetka & Parthenia, plus many more. There are also the Nike Missile Sites in the Santa Monica Mountains (LA-96) near Encino which is a popular hiking trail with missiles ready to launch from the Sepulveda Basin (now disabled) and in the Santa Susana Mountians (LA-88) near Chatsworth. These are just two examples, there are many more and can be found here. Now that I think about it, this sounds like a good BTTF series post, stay tuned folks! 

I got a little off track with this post but I wanted to end with some pics from the LA Public Library Photo Collection displaying a fallout shelter from Reseda. The caption to this photo reads:

The I. J. Lenack family of Reseda stocks their back-yard fallout shelter. Their underground shelter houses a TV set, phone, canned goods, lanterns and furniture. Photograph dated February 15, 1962. 
Courtesy of L.A. Public Library Photo Collection: Hollywood Citizen News/Valley Times Collection by George Birch
And the next photo shows the inside of the shelter although this is not from Reseda:
This family spent four days in a simulated fallout shelter to demonstrate a concentrated food compound made by a company who used the motto "Prepare to Survive." The Douglas Rade family participated in a demonstration at the New Products and Business Opportunity Show at the Statler-Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. 
Courtesy of L.A. Public Library Photo Collection: Hollywood Citizen News/Valley Times Collection by George Birch
So if you are interested in a bomb shelter Reseda home, there is one now available which was not so uncommon in the 50's, 60's, and 70's as the historical pictures attest. 

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