News & Events

THE COLD WAR COMES TO THE ARCHIVES

            The Cold War reached the archives recently in the form of fallout shelter maps showing the locations of shelters throughout Washington County that would have been used in the event of a nuclear attack. These were used in planning for such attacks during the decades-long confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union between the 1940s and 1980s. The maps were included in records of the Washington County-Johnson City Emergency Management Agency (Record Group 9) transferred to the archives.

            It is interesting that the archives building (then a bank) was listed as one of these fallout shelters. Knowing its’ thick walls, heavy construction, and the fact that cell phone reception is weak to non-existent explains why it might have been a good location. The shelter maps provide a lot of useful information: when residents should go to a shelter, what to bring, etc. Among other records in the collection are newspaper clippings related to county emergency events such as floods and tornados. Another interesting set of records are United States Army publications from the Vietnam War era that discuss such things as Viet Cong boobytraps and demolition training manuals.

            A guide to this collection is found at the following url: Record Groups | Washington County, Tennessee Department of Records Management and Archives (wctnarchives.org)

Cold War Map

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