Picture the mid-late 1970s…
You’re having a normal day when you hear from the radio, or perhaps a friend that the United States has just been the victim of a nuclear strike. While you probably couldn’t witness the mushroom cloud or even the loud blast from the epicenter of a large town, likely a state capital; that doesn’t make you safe from things like nuclear fallout or air contamination… or worse.
The scenario was very real at the time as the second peak of the cold war would be in the late 70s to the early 80s when nuclear war was a closer threat than any point aside from the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In order to combat this very possible danger, LeFlore County, much like other communities, established local fallout shelters. These locations were often within existing buildings that were capable of holding most, if not all of the designated town’s population and also provide for them a basis of communal protection. Most often a place well known and built for large occupancy, these places were churches, post offices, civil structures and, in our case infirmaries.
This guide, published in 1972 details exact places, occupancy and methods of travel to ensure the safety of you and your nuclear family. It includes guides about makeshift shelters and how to determine your safety by area and distance from a nuclear attack.
Absolutely one of the most interesting pieces to be added to the Newspaper Archive, this gem was advertised to be a potential life-saver and was distributed by our own Talihina American. Our resident Nuclear Fallout Shelter still stands, although it’s almost certainly not aware that it was designated that as far back as 1972.
In 1975 the Eastern Oklahoma State Sanatorium would become the ODVA: Talihina. One can only wonder if it carried on the duty of community protector after changing hands.