Realtors Couldn’t Believe The Secret This 96-Year-Old Woman Had Inside Her House

Published on 08/25/2019
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Carla and Gladys Spizzirri, sisters and real estate partners, had actually been waiting to look inside one particular house for a long time. Finally, the owner of the property, which is on 148 Jane Street, decided to sell it. This gave interested parties a chance to see for themselves what was hiding in the house. For now, all we can say is that they were absolutely shocked by what they saw.

You'll Never Guess What This 96-Year-Old Woman Was Hiding Inside Her House

Realtors Couldn’t Believe What This 96-Year-Old Woman Was Hiding Inside Her House

A Regular Home

From the outside, the house at 148 Jane Street looked like any other Toronto home. The street is plain and simple and no notable landmarks can be seen. There is also nothing particularly notable in the area. The structures surrounding the home look regular, so you might think the interiors look regular as well.

A Totally Ordinary Home

A Regular Home

Looking To Sell

There are only a few people who have actually gone inside this home, and others only knew the fact that the same people owned and lived in it for a really long time. Most of the things about the house were a mystery. Then one day, realtors Gladys and Carla got a call regarding the house and the owner’s plan to sell it. Of course, the pair needed to see the home for themselves first.

Exceeded Expectations

Looking To Sell

Just A Regular Day

For the sisters and realtors, the day began fairly unexciting at work, and people at the office were busy doing the usual things. Sisters Carla and Gladys Spizzirri owned the agency, though they didn’t use to work together. Things changed when the pair realized they were a great team – one searches for listings that they can sell and the other talks to potential customers. They were effective and efficient together, so they decided to keep at it.

Just A Regular Day

Just A Regular Day

Surprising Event

The years of experience that Gladys and Carla have helped them understand how the business works. The realtors are great at what they do and like their jobs. They have been in the industry for quite some time, so they are not usually surprised by anything. However, there are still exceptions and this was one of them.

The Phone Rings

Surprising Event

The Phone Rings

Even professional real estate agents still get shocked from time to time! At the time, they were not aware that something big was coming their way. No one really knows what is in store for anyone in the future, right? The real estate office got a call which went on to change the lives of Carla and Gladys forever.

Screenshot 2

The Phone Rings

A Call From A Stranger

The phone at the Spizzirris’ office always rings, so they took this call like they always do. However, the caller made them reconsider things. Joyce, an older woman, phoned the office because she was thinking of putting her home on the market, but she had not made up her mind about it.

A Call From A Stranger

A Call From A Stranger

A Secret

As Joyce explained that she was considering selling her house, she seemed hesitant, and her tone and how she talked made them think she was not that keen on the idea. On the other hand, they could tell she was persistent and would likely sell her house in spite of everything. Then, Joyce told Clara and Gladys a secret that the sisters did not expect at all. It completely changed things for them.

Preservation of History

A Secret

A Different Kind Of Emotion

Many people who decide to sell their houses think that they are headed in the right direction. That is why when they contact a realtor, many of them seem happy. They think that this is the start of something new. However, it seemed like Joyce was not happy nor excited that she was selling her home.

Hiding Something

A Different Kind Of Emotion

Hiding Something

Realtors usually have a sixth sense while talking to clients. Both Carla and Gladys felt that the caller had a secret. It could be something which would make it difficult to sell the place. The duo knew from experience that things which are unpleasant, though they happened in the past, could have a negative effect on selling a house.

Success With Negotiations

Hiding Something

Challenge Accepted

Joyce did not actually try to hide typical homeowner problems. There was no problem with the water heater and there were no issues like black mold. Her secret was much bigger but Gladys and Carla were persistent. They made a decision to face the challenge.

Challenge Accepted

Challenge Accepted

No Way To Prepare

The real estate sisters are quite confident in their ability to list almost anything. They always look for new opportunities and are great at their jobs. Even though they have a lot of experience, they were still not really prepared for what was coming their way.

A Secret No More

No Way To Prepare

Something New

Having been in real estate for a long time, Carla and Gladys thought they had already seen everything. Since they had dealt with things which would make most people give up, the two thought they were definitely capable of dealing with practically anything. Before getting to Joyce’s home, the realtors were already thinking about some of the possible things they might find there. Some pretty crazy ideas came to their minds but the reality was nothing like they had imagined.

Something New

Something New

Low Expectations

Three years being in real estate helped the sisters become familiar with Toronto pretty well. Clara and Gladys bought and sold many properties in popular neighborhoods within the city. The pair occasionally lucked out and they managed to snag a property with minimal work needed and which practically sold itself even without a lot of help from them. They did not know if Joyce’s home was something like this, but they did not keep their hopes up.

Low Expectations

Low Expectations

Moving On

It seemed that Joyce did not really want to sell her home, so the realtors had to go and check the property to know why. When Joyce first contacted the duo, the older woman told them something pretty surprising and would certainly affect the property’s sale. Joyce hinted that as soon as the realtors went through the front door, they were going to discover something surprising.

Moving On

Moving On

A Living Legend

At the time, the older woman was 96 years old but in spite of her advanced age, Joyce had good hearing and was lucid. This impressed Carla Spizzirri since talking to her own grandmother involved speaking louder. It was certainly amazing that the 96-year-old woman was in such great shape, but the actual surprise was actually waiting inside her home. The sisters were in for something more incredible.

Seven Decades’ Worth of Memories

A Living Legend

Their Expectations

While they were on their way to the house, the real estate duo did not know something unbelievable was actually waiting for them inside the home. From the outside, Joyce’s home did not look very different from other houses on the street. However, the sisters finally saw what the older woman was talking about as soon as they stepped inside the home.

Their Expectations

Their Expectations

A Looming Disaster

Joyce told the real estate duo that she had been living in her home for seven decades. In those 70 years, she had not had anything done to her house except the kitchen’s remodelling in order to upgrade the room. When the sisters heard this, they started dreading going to the property in order to inspect it. Chances are the house would be in bad shape if it were neglected!

Much Better Than Expected

A Looming Disaster

Worst-Case Scenario

As Gladys and Carla made their way to Joyce’s home, they felt some scepticism about the whole thing. They assumed the older woman could not maintain her home in good condition seeing as she did not have any help. The two braced themselves for the worst.

Worst-Case Scenario

Worst-Case Scenario

A Hoarder

As the day of the inspection got closer, the two realtors got more and more worried. They were concerned about the time and effort needed to clean the home if their worst fears were confirmed. They really hated going to a hoarder’s house and they were thinking it was possible that Joyce could had filled her home with debris and junk that she collected throughout the years.

Messy And Uninhabitable?

A Hoarder

Not All Bad

On the upside, the sisters thought they were really lucky with the property’s location. The housing prices around the area had been rising for quite some time, and the duo knew the house would fetch a good price. After they said goodbye to Joyce on the phone, the sisters started crunching some numbers in order to have an idea what price they could set for the property. They were pleased that the figure was even higher compared to what they initially thought since this meant profit for their company.

Not All Bad

Not All Bad

So Far So Good

Joyce’s home was in the city’s Old Mill neighborhood, a location that is considered ideal by a lot of Torontonians. The real estate sisters have sold other houses that are in the neighborhood and fetched impressive prices. At the time, however, the two was not aware just how much they could get for Joyce’s house. The sisters did some calculations, and they estimated that the value of the property is $968,000!

So Far So Good

So Far So Good

Still So Hesitant

However, the sisters were not sure about the figure because they have not inspected the house’s interiors. They needed to think of the cost of fixing the house up to meet acceptable standards of living. Also, there was an issue they had to address. Joyce seemed incredibly hesitant and they were wondering if they could convince the older woman to sell her home.

A Prime Location

Still So Hesitant

Making Up Her Mind

When Joyce first contacted the sisters, it seemed she had not completely made up her mind yet about selling her house. Understandably, Gladys and Carla were worried about this. However, Joyce did say that she was planning to sell her house despite having lived there for 72 years. It must have been really hard to leave a place if you have lived there almost all your life. For Joyce, her house is full of wonderful memories.

Making Up Her Mind

Making Up Her Mind

Hold It

The way the older woman talked gave the realtors pause. Was Joyce actually upset about losing her home of seven decades, or was there something she was not telling them? Feeling bad about leaving a place that you are attached to is natural, but if it happened that Joyce was actually keeping something from them, they would definitely have a full plate…

Hold It

Hold It

Maintenance Issues

Before Carla and Gladys made a decision, they made up their mind to go to 148 Jane Street to do an inspection. They knew the house would likely need repairs before they it could be offered to potential buyers. However, the duo knew it depended on how the house was maintained over the years.

A Brick House

Maintenance Issues

Complete Surprise

The real estate duo scheduled a time and day to go see the home for themselves. This would allow them to figure out how much fixing up it needed. They did not know they were about to see something completely unexpected there. The two were pretty surprised when they finally saw what Joyce had been hiding.

Complete Surprise

Complete Surprise

Final Answer

Before Carla and Gladys came over, they made their estimate based only on the property’s address and a picture of its exterior. Without more information, the duo could not make a more reliable estimate. What’s more, the house looked like any other house on the block.

Final Answer

Final Answer

A Decision At Last

Joyce finally made a decision. She was selling the home, so the realtors just had to see the property for themselves. At last, the day finally came to conduct their inspection. The two showed up on 148 Jane Street and Joyce went to greet the ladies at the front door. When they finally stepped in and saw what was inside, the sisters were stunned.

A Change in Plans

A Decision At Last

Amazing Interiors

The realtors had no clue what awaited them inside the house nor were they ready for it. When they finally went through the front door, Clara and Gladys could only stare at the amazing interior of the house. It was certainly not mundane and it was clear that Joyce was no hoarder.

Amazing Interiors

Amazing Interiors

Essentially Perfect

In fact, Joyce took care of her home just like any other traditional woman. The house was definitely stunning on the inside. The sisters were surprised to see the great care that went into maintaining the home, which was essentially perfect. The décor, the furniture, and even the knickknacks everywhere were great. The home was impeccably clean sparkling.

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Essentially Perfect

Time Capsule

The sisters were amazed to see the incredible condition of the home. They felt like they hit the jackpot! While they did not expect this, they knew then that they could sell the house at a price higher than what they had in mind since it was in great condition.

Time Capsule

Time Capsule

The Designer Herself

What’s more, the home was like a large time capsule. Going inside it was like traveling back to the ‘40s. Around that time, Joyce started living in the house and began decorating it according to her likes. She chose the flooring, wallpaper, furniture, curtains, and more by herself. So cool!

Surprisingly Lucid

The Designer Herself

Something Special

As they looked around the house, Clara and Gladys were thrilled that every room was very clean and attractive. The house was the cleanest, not to mention the best-maintained, they had ever come across while working in real estate. A lot of effort went into taking care of the beautiful home, but they understood why Joyce hesitated. While the house was in such great condition on the inside, there was something about it which could perhaps break the deal.

Something Special

Something Special

Huge Problem

The house was decorated quite femininely wherever you looked, and this made the realtors concerned. It was an amazing and well kept home, but it might not attract male buyers because the décor was too pink or too floral for a lot of men. Redecorating an entire house would need a lot of effort, time and money. The golds, purples, and pinks of the rooms would probably not appeal to most male clients and perhaps some women are not too keen on them as well.

Huge Problem

Huge Problem

Very Unique

The most unique part of the house was the basement, which was sort of an acquired taste. There was a room with wood paneling and it had a wet bar – the perfect man cave. Obviously, there was a man that spent a lot of time there and it is safe to say that it was Joyce’s husband’s private space. The room must have been a retreat from the pastels and florals found all over the house.

Very Unique

Very Unique

Apart From That

The house was gorgeous, but unfortunately the same cannot be said about the backyard, which clearly saw some neglect. At some point, the owners installed AstroTurf but the effort to do some landscaping ended there. Even though the backyard was lackluster, Gladys and Carla knew that the property could still go for a great price. The sisters thought they needed to get some inspectors there who could check for any hidden damages and flaws which needed fixing before they started selling the house.

Apart From That

Apart From That

The Inspectors

Sometimes, a house looks great but have severe problems which are hidden. There may be a problem with the foundation or the walls have mold. Things like these usually mean a big drop in the price, but the sisters were quite confident this house was perfectly fine. Despite how confident they were, there is still a slight chance that something unexpected will turn up. When inspectors went to the house to do their work, there was another big surprise for everyone.

The Inspectors

The Inspectors

Beneath It All

The home inspectors started doing their work once they arrived at the house. They scoured every nook and cranny in the house, so it took them some time to finish checking everything. They found out that the home was in perfect shape and when they told everyone else about their discovery, they were shocked. Joyce, together with her husband, took such good care of their home that it could be put up for sale without needing to do anything to it. As a matter of fact, the sisters only had to go back to the office and they could start offering it to potential buyers – this had never happened before!

Beneath It All

Beneath It All

It Is On

When Gladys and Carla got back to the office, they put Joyce’s house up for sale with a price tag of $699k. Without a doubt, this was expensive, but something quite exciting happened. When potential buyers saw how beautiful the house was, a bidding war started. For people who are in the market to purchase a house in Joyce’s neighborhood, her house was a great choice.

It Is On

It Is On

Blast To The Past

The amazing home with stunning interiors soon went viral and was even on the news! Of course, as the popularity of Joyce’s house grew, the price also skyrocketed. Those who followed the story must have felt like the house was a museum. Going inside it is like traveling back to the ‘40s. Since Joyce opted not to change anything which she could afford to preserve, everything basically remained the same!

Blast To The Past

Blast To The Past

Modern Kitchen

The house remained largely the same, but Joyce revealed one part of it underwent renovation. Back in the ‘60s, modern conveniences were added to her kitchen because she wanted more efficiency when cooking. The update was done in the ‘60s, but the appliances in the home remained in good working order. However, this should not be surprising because Joyce took such good care of her home. It was definitely a time capsule home.

Modern Kitchen

Modern Kitchen

Where She Went

In an interview with Daily Mail, Joyce said she thought she was somewhat an interior designer. The time has come, however, for her to let go of the masterpiece which took her decades to create. She actually put her house up for sale because she wanted to move into a retirement home and enjoy her twilight years there. In the past, she was a seamstress and never actually had professional training being an interior designer. “I’ve always tried to be individual, and follow my own styles,” Joyce told HGTV.

Where She Went

Where She Went

A History Lesson

Joyce and her husband began calling 148 Jane Street home back in 1942, during the Second World War. Actually, many people were curious if the property’s new owners were planning a huge makeover of the house or if they were keeping the interior the same. To this day, we still do not know if the new owners did anything to it but since the home is not a heritage site nor is it an actual museum, the buyers can do anything with it. We just hope they do the right thing.

A History Lesson

A History Lesson

Not The Furniture

Actually, there was a catch in buying the house – the furniture was not part of the sale. The furniture pieces certainly played a major part in the feel as well as the design of the home, so we hope the buyers of the house had read the fine print so that they could avoid disappointment. Joyce’s daughter actually wanted the furniture, probably because of all the memories, so she got it as one of the things she inherited. Even without the furniture, the house is surely still worth it.

Not The Furniture

Not The Furniture

After Seven Decades

Joyce was 24 years old when she started living in the house on Jane Street and it was only after 70 years that she wanted something else. She never failed to look after the house and despite spending a lot of time in the master bedroom during her later years, it still looks immaculate. The chairs looked new and as if no one has ever sat on them and the bed looks absolutely brand new. It is actually very hard to believe they are from the ‘40s.

After Seven Decades

After Seven Decades

Pastel Colors

Joyce told the press about her personal design style, which was tone on tone pieces. In addition, she likes matching designs and soft colors. Thanks to her skill and talent, her home was inviting and comfortable. Joyce paid attention to detail, so things go well together and the home did not need any repairs nor did it look old even after seven decades.

Pastel Colors

Pastel Colors

The Intricate Details

The house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, wallpapers that would remind you of the post-war era, and wall to wall carpeting. Some other details are floral sweeps, baroque pattern, gold touches, and metallic wallpaper. The home also has fireplaces, which are essential for managing the Toronto cold. It can be seen that every room was carefully planned and a lot of consideration went into decorating them. The cupboards and hardware were tailor-made and customized. In addition, the color choices were masterful, and every room had a color scheme that was picked after much thought.

The Intricate Details

The Intricate Details

The Best Part

The main floors of the house are gorgeous, but our favorite is the basement. The laundry room includes wooden cabinets and laundry machines that look amazing next to each other though they do not really come from the same time period that other things in the house came from.

Follow In Her Footsteps

The Best Part

Follow In Her Footsteps

Joyce really enjoyed decorating the home and taking care of it, and she also managed to maintain it to a standard few people can achieve. However, in John Sims’ case, the house he purchased in Arizona was not as meticulously kept by its previous owners. It was much stranger and pretty spooky…

An Outlet For Her Creativity

Follow In Her Footsteps

New Beginning

John purchased a new house in Tucson, Arizona. He did not worry about the home he bought since his friend previously owned it. Nevertheless, when his friend gave the keys to him, John also received a peculiar message. His friend mentioned that there was something strange regarding the property that nobody can explain. Little did John know, this information was only the start of an incredible sequence of events.

A New Beginning

A New Beginning

So I’ve Heard

According to John’s friend, there was a mystery surrounding the backyard. It was rumored that there was something unknown buried in the yard. Now that John owns the place, he can do whatever he wants with it. His mind was racing as he was moving his belongings inside his new house. He was desperate to get more information about this mystery.

So I've Heard

So I’ve Heard

Wild Curiosity

It is understandable that John got really curious about the thing that was rumored to be buried in his backyard. He was intrigued ever since he heard the rumor. John even half-jokingly asked for a shovel from his friend. Even though they both just laughed it off, John knew that he needed the right equipment to do the job.

Wild Curiosity

Wild Curiosity

A New Project

John started working on uncovering the secret which his backyard had. He wondered about what he might find, though he was not really sure he would find anything at all. He knew about the endless possibilities, but he was also aware that uncovering the secret would mean making a mess of the backyard. However, this was only a minor setback for him since he knew that he would not be able to let things go unless he found out the truth. John started digging.

A New Project

A New Project

Arizona Heat

Even though it seemed like the weather was working against him, John began the work on his yard. In Arizona, it is natural for temperatures to rise to three-digit degrees Fahrenheit. Regardless, John continued the work, hoping to unearth something worthwhile. Even if he was really determined, he did not find anything. Rather than giving up, John pressed on.

Arizona Heat

Arizona Heat

Adjustment

Despite having dug four different holes in the backyard, John did not find anything. Even if there was really something buried in his backyard, it was possible it had already collapsed or had been destroyed. Feeling disappointed, John was not about to give up, so he started thinking outside the box so that he could have a chance in finding what was buried in the yard. Suddenly, he thought of a way to locate it.

Adjustment

Adjustment

The Blueprints

John found something that would be of great help to his backyard search – some municipal records of the area that he lived in. After searching through the documents, he got the information that he needed. The records state that a house was built, but it also says Whitaker Pools built something else there in 1961. Nevertheless, it’s a bit odd – why in the world would they build a swimming pool underground?

The Blueprints

The Blueprints

Taking It To Another Level

John thought that it was time to refocus his search. He was going to be more cautious in doing it. Previously, he had done everything based only on a hunch, but this time, he had documents to help him go about things the smart way. He hired consultants, who came over with metal detectors and began searching the backyard. At this point, everything became more serious. At first, there wasn’t anything, but the metal detectors suddenly went off.

Taking It To Another Level

Taking It To Another Level

X Marks The Spot

When John heard the detectors go off not only once, but twice, he got very excited. He made sure to put an X mark on the grass in both spots. This time, his search was not blind and was more focused and effective thanks to the professionals he hired. He then quickly started to dig up the spots that he marked and his shovel hit something.

X Marks The Spot

X Marks The Spot

Lucky Strike

John’s shovel struck something which was metal, and even though he was very excited, he paused. He thought that it was a septic tank at first, but he knew that it could be something else, so he thought it was better to proceed with caution. John knew he had to take precise actions to avoid damaging it. Moments later, he found out what it was that he unearthed.

Lucky Strike

Lucky Strike

The Discovery

John had discovered in his backyard something like an entrance shaped like a hatch. After he cleaned the area around it, he then tried prying the lid open. He made sure he didn’t inhale too much since he had no idea if there was mold or harmful gas fumes inside. John carefully looked inside and he was amazed by what he saw.

The Discovery

The Discovery

Stairs Below

Underneath the lid in John’s backyard, there were a series of what appeared to be sharp blades. After taking a closer look, however, John realized that it was a spiral staircase which lead downward. Many people wouldn’t think twice about exploring a newfound discovery. John, on the other hand, hesitated despite being ecstatic. His hesitation was for good reason.

Stairs Below

Stairs Below

Safety First

Even if John proceeded carefully, he knew that it would be stupid to do it without serious preparation. John is the captain of a fire department, so he knows that it could be really dangerous just going down to the underground space. The structure beneath could be unstable, so he devised a plan. However, his plan was not something he could carry out all on his own.

Safety First

Safety First

The Team

John needed to ask people for help carrying out his plan, so he called up several of his friends. In case something went sideways, he had the necessary back up because he prepared for it. Since John has experience rescuing people, he knew that he would not survive if the old lid collapsed and fell on him. However, before the underground space could be explored, there was a crucial task that they had to complete.

The Team

The Team

The Master Plan

John was very much looking forward to exploring what he discovered in his backyard, but he wanted the process to be safe. Since he did not know exactly what awaited him in the underground space, he and his friends devised a plan on how to approach the matter at hand. They created a blueprint on how to go about it.

The Master Plan

The Master Plan

First

The first thing on their list was fixing and reinforcing the concrete structure which was surrounding stairs. Since the stairs accumulated a lot of rust over time, they were unsafe. John was very tempted to climb down to see what was inside, but he knew that he needed to do this the smart way.

First

First

Reinforcements

Together with his friends, John worked non-stop to set down layers of concrete and to secure the rebar inside. They had to make sure that the structure wouldn’t crumble if someone goes down there. To stabilize everything, they had to keep pouring several batches of concrete. The whole time they were doing all of this, John was wondering what he might discover. Little did he know that something was going against him.

Reinforcements

Reinforcements

Summer Stench

The unavoidable extreme Arizona heat is one of the factors that made the team’s progress slow. What’s worse was that nobody knew if the blistering heat could affect the thing that was inside the hatch. To protect themselves along with what was inside, a tent was set up over everything. They also set up a structure made of Sonotube cardboard around the entrance so that they would not damage anything while they were working. After finishing the concrete reinforcement, it looked like they were ready to make their way down, but something was missing.

Summer Stench

Summer Stench

Preparation

John and his friends installed an electrical line to be able to illuminate the space inside the hatch. In addition, they set up a black pipe in order to funnel in fresh air. They were nearly at their final goal. Over five decades later, the mystery that surrounded the underground cavern would finally be solved.

Preparation

Preparation

Ready To Go

After the team finished widening the entrance, it looked so much better. Even with the heat in Arizona, they continued working and at that point, reached the part that everybody was looking forward to the most. Finally, John felt secured to enter and explore the discovery in his backyard. Everybody, especially John, had been waiting for this.

Ready To Go

Ready To Go

Last Touches

Even though the structure’s outside had been reinforced, its stairs were still unsafe. Despite having the structure around the stairs was fine, it was very rusty, and Sims couldn’t determine how much weight it could hold. Unlike the entrance which could be reinforced working above, the stairs couldn’t be fixed from above. Anyway, the team needs to get inside to fix the stairs, so for this reason, Sims needed to find an alternative way to get in.

Last Touches

Last Touches

Another Way In

John needed to figure out how to get down the underground space without using the really rusty stairs. The space was too deep and the entrance was too narrow, so John might get hurt if he hit the rusty stairs. They decided to insert a ladder. Filled with great excitement, John went down the ladder. He didn’t know what he would find and he was eager to solve the mystery.

Another Way In

Another Way In

John The Explorer

As John went down the ladder, he knew that for over five decades, this was the first time a person went down there. In the shaft, he discovered a whole underground complex. It was not full of dirt, and in fact, the complex was totally empty. As he continued walking across the floor, he came upon an arched doorway. When he went through there, he saw something which left him speechless.

John The Explorer

John The Explorer

A Bit Of The Past

He could see inside the chamber that the ceiling covered in old fiberglass was coming apart. As soon as he saw it, John knew that the place was not fully secure and that if the fiberglass were to break, it could impact breathing and harm bare skin. There was more work to do. Nevertheless, John finally knew what thing was buried in his backyard, so there was no way he was giving up. There was still a lot to uncover.

A Bit Of The Past

A Bit Of The Past

Long Buried

It seemed as if the previous inhabitants did not use the structure in John’s backyard. With no maintenance for over five decades, it was expected that there would be some wear and tear, but other than that, the structure was in excellent condition. Even though it was empty, they knew what it once was. According to the blueprints, Whitaker Pools built the structure, thought it was definitely not a swimming pool and actually had a different purpose.

Long Buried

Long-Buried

A Historical Find

The structure underneath John’s backyard is a nuclear fallout shelter which was built at a time when the Cold War tensions were at their peak. During this time, mass paranoia was rising, which resulted in people having bomb shelters constructed. Whitaker Pools grew their business behind the scenes and started to include services that people wanted. Instead of swimming pools, people wanted bomb shelters underneath their backyards. As John was learning more about the complex, he realized that he probably was not alone.

A Historical Find

A Historical Find

Tucson

As it turns out, during the Cold War, bomb shelters of this sort were built in people’s backyard, and it was not seen as an overreaction. If a man had one built, he was seen as someone looking out for his family. During this time, the threat of a nuclear attack was very real. What’s more, Tucson had another secret.

Tucson

Tucson

Missile Town

In the past, there were 18 different ballistic missiles in Tucson, Arizona. These missiles have the capability to fly across whole continents, and each one was 110 feet long and 10 feet across. They were capable of destroying a 900-square-mile area and could be launched in 58 seconds. There was a 9-megaton nuclear warhead on the tip of each missile. They kept the project a secret for obvious reasons, but now that the Cold War is over, were there missiles left behind?

Missile Town

Missile Town

Disabled

Thankfully, most of the missiles were disabled after the threat of war disappeared. During the early part of the 1980s, the relations between the USSR and the US started to calm down, so nearly all Tucson nuclear shelters were sealed or destroyed. John’s shelter in his yard was built in 1961, just around the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The shelter John had in his yard is definitely a historical relic, but he did not know it would turn into such big news.

Disabled

Disabled

Cold War

John’s story went viral soon after he posted his findings on Reddit. He was really proud of his discovery and was certain that there would be several others like him. He connected with other Tucson home owners who also had bomb shelters on their properties because of the popularity of the post. His friends suggested to have the shelter converted into a wine cellar or cigar bar, but John had a different idea. He thought of collecting furniture and memorabilia related to the Cold War to bring this relic to life.

Cold War

Cold War

Raising Funds

To be able to bring the bomb shelter back to life, John created a GoFundMe page with this explanation: “Hi, I’m John and I need some help restoring a vintage Fallout Shelter that I have uncovered in my backyard.” Since the shelter’s interior was in pretty good condition, John planned to rebuild the upper entryway using concrete to make it secure before fixing the inside. Also, he planned to change the staircase.

Raising Funds

Raising Funds

Civil Defense Museum

John wasn’t just going to let his amazing discovery go to waste, so he decided to turn the bomb shelter into a HAM shack, a man cave, and a Civil Defense Museum. He started to do some research regarding the Cold War and the reason why the citizens of Tucson built the shelters. John wanted to turn the shelter into a memorial of the time in history it was built. This is the reason why he began to gather Cold War memorabilia, such as sanitation kits, water supply barrels, HAM radios, and Geiger counters. He wanted to put them on display.

Civil Defense Museum

Civil Defense Museum

New Stairs

John’s story became really popular online and was shared 430 times. This helped him raise money to start the shelter’s renovations. His goal was to reach $2,000, and he already made $350 – proof that many people believed this project is important. With the initial funds, he was able to make the stairs safe and easy to use. John decided to share the progress with the people that donated money in order to make the entire process more meaningful.

New Stairs

New Stairs

Restored

Rebuilding the shelter’s steps took some time to complete because John chose not to cut corners. He widened the top step and secured it to the wall. After rebuilding of the stairs was completed, the restoration process became smoother. People were really impressed by the entire process and some even donated to the cause.

Restored

Restored

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