Pepperell Bunker

On December 2, 1960, the First National Bank of Boston opened a 7200 sq ft underground storage facility in Pepperell, MA.  Designed to protect the bank's records from nuclear attack, the facility had climate control, fire suppression, an office with bathroom and shower and a central alarm system.  At the entrance was a 8 ton bank vault door.  Set in a residential neighborhood the property also included a house with 4 bedrooms and 3 and a half bathrooms all on 1.87 acres adjacent to a lovely 15 acre farm.

The vault is 14 feet underground with walls made of 1,500 cubic yards of concrete laced with 100 tons of reinforcing steel. It has a surplus atomic submarine escape hatch inscribed USS Nautilus at one end and a 16,000-pound safe door at the other. Engineers figured it could sustain a "medium" nuclear blast (5 to 10 megatons) as close as 5 miles away. In the sixties when the facility was built there wasn't much around to be targeted.

It is reported that packages arriving at the 
Pepperell post office in the early 1960s marked with an "X" were automatically sent to the bunker.
Like many similar facilities, the vault reportedly would also have been used by bank executives who would relocate from Boston to the farmhouse when an international crisis loomed and then evacuate to the bunker if an attack warning was issued.Cots and blankets were on hand for 50 people. Food rations were calculated to provide 842 calories daily for two weeks. The shelter had its own underground well, gasoline-driven generator, filtered air vents, and tanks for body waste.


Set in a residential neighborhood just far enough from
Boston that it might survive a nuclear attack on that city,
this vault was built in 1960 for the 
First National Bank of Boston.

Pepperell Memories:

Great site! Can confirm the bank vault in Pepperell, as I cut the grass over and around it in the early sixties! My uncle was a vp at the old First National Bank; and got me the job as we lived there. Don't recall what it paid, but as a teenager, was glad to get it!

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