What Was He Going to Do With This Hole?
Purchase of a 6 Metre Container
Even before Wayne started digging a hole, he bought a 6-metre container. It’s quite surprising how many of these huge containers you can find on the internet at incredibly low prices. As any DIY enthusiast knows, one of the most important things is to keep costs down. It can be very easy to lose track of your spending and overspend on products you don’t really need. The fact that Wayne was able to find a container of this size and keep his budget down really helped him to make his project a reality. But what exactly did he need the container for? We will soon find out!
Measure Twice, Dig Once
He Lined the Floor With Pea Gravel
Sometimes You Still Need to Call a Professional
Even though much of this project is meant to be a DIY project, sometimes you just have to call in a professional. Not everyone has a crane to lift a 6 metre container and lower it into a huge hole in their lawn, so Wayne hired a septic tank company to do the dirty work for him. Honestly, it was a much better idea than rounding up some friends to find a way to get the container down there. So the container is now in the hole, but what is Wayne’s plan? It’s a bit more complicated than you might think.
Fits Like a Glove
So there are many reasons to make the hole a little bigger than the container, and there is more than a little leeway. Wayne has left about a metre of space on each side, as well as a few metres in front of the swinging door. Now that the container is in the hole, the real project begins. It may seem pretty obvious what Wayne has planned, but I guarantee that the finished product will really inspire you to up your DIY game.
Every Bunker Needs a Pump
An Entrance for a King
If you build an underground bunker, of course you have to find a way to get in. Wayne did the only logical thing and laid out a concrete staircase, making sure that the top staircase was at the same level as the top of his bunker. I think most people would prefer a simple staircase to a ladder or a fire pole to slide down. Now that the bunker was in the ground and the stairs were finished, Wayne could start finishing the exterior and move on to the interior.
Everyone Needs a Support Beam
Wayne was very wise to include these two I-beams to ensure that his bunker was as stable as possible. You probably wouldn’t think that a huge 6-metre container could move much, but the floor could easily shift and throw his bunker off balance. These two beams served another purpose. They served not only to support the bunker, but also to frame some of Wayne’s other plans for the exterior of his underground bunker. What else did Wayne have planned? You’ll see in a moment.
Making a Roof?
I guess I didn’t consider that when you build an underground bunker you have to take the necessary precautions to ensure that the roof is stable as well. Wayne put up some kind of scaffolding at the top to support the roof, and it makes perfect sense why he put up the I-beams in the first place. It also shows what he has in store for the rest of the bunker. I’m glad he dug the hole extra deep because it looks like it will fit in perfectly with the rest of the garden. I’m very excited to see the end result, are you?
An Underground Roof
More Than Just Stairs
We have already explained that the stairs would be the only way in and out of the bunker, but Wayne was not satisfied with a normal entrance. After building and securing the roof, he set to work creating a grand entrance for his bunker. He left an opening in the roof and placed rebar to support everything. This is such an underrated aspect of his whole project. Why go to all this trouble if you just want a simple entrance? It’s either big or nothing.
Stacking the Concrete Blocks
Obviously, Wayne took safety very seriously when he put his bunker together. Not only did he make sure his bunker was secure and firmly in the ground, but he also made sure everything was up to code. This bunker was clearly built to last forever, and it almost looks like it could serve as a makeshift air-raid shelter if needed. But is that what Wayne has been building all along, or does he have a different plan for his underground bunker?
Pump the Air In
Time to Pour Some Concrete
You might think that everything was already in place, but Wayne wasn’t taking any chances. The ground can move and shift, especially in winter when it freezes. That’s why Wayne made sure his bunker was encased in concrete, both on the sides and on the roof. As you can see, this is a perfect pour. Everything looks nice and smooth and should fit in perfectly with the rest of his garden. You can see how much space this project takes up in his garden, but it goes quickly and will pay off in the end.
Six Inches of Separation
More Blocks to Come
After the concrete had dried, Wayne went back to business as usual and added more concrete blocks through the rebar into the entrance. He wanted the entrance to stand out and be really protected, of course. Since this is the only part of the bunker exposed to the elements, more protection is always better. This door will definitely take a beating over the years, so it’s even better if you can rule out things like bad weather or animals. Now that the outside is finished, we can walk down the stairs and see what it looks like inside!
Say Goodbye to the Temporary Support Beams
As we have said many times before, safety is paramount in a project like this. There’s no reason to cut corners and not take all the necessary precautions to keep your bunker safe and secure. And when you’re spending so much time and money, it’s simply not worth taking shortcuts. Once the concrete was dry and stable, Wayne could finally remove the support beams that secured the roof. All those cinder blocks looked like they were just for show, but they formed the foundation for a perfect bunker.
Filling the Soil All Around
The last thing you want is for the bunker to be in a dirt pit in the middle of the garden. That’s why Wayne has made sure that the space around the entrance is filled with high-quality soil. When everything is ready, he can plant the bunker with plants so that it blends in well with the rest of the lawn. As you can see, the finished product won’t even give the appearance that there was a huge hole there originally. And I doubt anyone will suspect a bunker underneath.
Wait What, Is That Wine?
I don’t know what I expected, but I don’t think I expected this cellar to be filled with wine. But to be honest, it makes perfect sense to me. Why do I almost hear you thinking that? Well, wine and other spirits (is that bourbon?) are best stored underground, and the cool atmosphere should help them last for generations. But is that the only reason he built this bunker, or does he have even bigger plans for this cellar?
More Than the Eye Can Grasp
The great thing about a container like this is that it can be used for so many different purposes. As you can see on the back, there’s plenty of room for storage. So while he plans to fill it with wine, it could also be a great place to store your Christmas decorations or non-perishable food items for emergencies. Imagine something bad like a natural disaster happening? Now Wayne has built a shelter that suits his needs when he needs to hole up for a few hours or even a few days. And the best part is that he doesn’t need any space in his garden because everything is underground!
The Plans Are Available for Everyone
A Couple of Tips
When Wayne was done with his bunker, he gave a few tips or recommendations for people who might also try to build their own bunker. One of his suggestions is to put handrails on the stairs for safety. Honestly, this is a great idea, especially if you live in a cold place where the stairs can get icy and slippery. He also said that it might be useful to build a small overhang over the entrance. Again, this would be a good idea if you live in a place where the elements could ice up the stairs or even fill the hole with rainwater. Also, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep critters off your walkway.
He Is Not the Only One Who Has This Idea
The Bunker Business Is Booming
At the beginning of 2017, container and bunker construction companies saw a sharp increase in their business. Americans were forced to prepare for a wartime situation as tensions in foreign relations and uncertainty about the future increased. Clyde Scott, owner of Rising Bunkers, a bunker construction company based in Texas, said business reached an all-time high in 2016 and 2017. His sales have increased by an incredible 400 per cent, according to the Independent, and have grown to a $10 million a year business.
What Did It Cost?
In the end, Wayne’s hard work came at a price, but it’s much more reasonable than you might think. All in all, Wayne spent $12,500 on his DIY bunker, which is insanely cheap. He said he did most of the work himself, and he had his own tractor, which probably helped fill in the soil and even dig the hole. This is an imaginative way to build a bunker. Other people turn to the up-and-coming bunker companies to help them build a bunker.
The Upper Middle Class Prepares
Paul Seyfried, president and CEO of Utah Shelter Systems, says the bunker business has been very brisk in recent years. Although his customers come from all over the country, Seyfried says most are ordered in New York, California and Texas. Seyfried told Fox13, “The smallest bunkers start at about $50,000. The largest bunkers we build, a 3,5 metre by 15 metre, usually cost around $100,000.” Most clients build the bunkers for their families and are able to repel electromagnetic pulses and radiation.
Bunkers for Sale in South Dakota
Vivos xPoint is a decommissioned army base in South Dakota. It hasn’t been used since 1967, but now there are plans to use the wartime bunkers again, this time for citizens. An incredible 575 concrete bunkers are located “off the grid” in the grasslands near the Wyoming border, and there are plans to build more. The bunkers can be rented for $25,000 for 99 years, plus $1,000 per year. They are spacious at 1,590 or 2,120 square metres. However, there is no plumbing, electricity or air filtration, so they need some work.
Several Options to Choose From
California-based Atlas Survival Shelters says it sold 30 shelters in three days after Donald Trump took office. Compare that to the 10 they sold in all of 2011 and it’s easy to argue that interest has increased. The shelters they build are designed to provide the comforts of home. So if you’re looking for shelter without feeling like you’re hiding in an unfinished basement, this is a good option. Many of their customers are baby boomers who remember the threat of a nuclear or missile attack when they were younger and want to be prepared.
An Ordinary Real Estate Transaction
John Sims wasn’t expecting anything unusual when he bought his new house in a neighbourhood in downtown Tucson, Arizona. But buying the house turned into one of the most amazing events of his life, thanks to a disturbing rumour about the house and a curiosity that just wouldn’t quit. The previous owner of the house had claimed that something had been buried in the backyard. John just couldn’t rest knowing that there might be a secret buried out there somewhere, and he set out to find it. Read on to find out more about John’s search for a decades-old secret.
Handover of the Keys
What Is to Be Done With This Knowledge?
John’s friend, who had previously owned the house John had just bought, had given him an exciting but also creepy clue about the property. However, it turned out that the friend had never taken the time to find out if the rumours were true. As John set about unpacking and doing the other routine tasks associated with moving into a new house, he couldn’t stop thinking about what his friend had said. He just had to find out for himself what was going on in his backyard.
The Mystery Was for Him to Discover
Now that he was somewhat obsessed with the air of mystery that surrounded his new house, John realised that he would do anything to get to the bottom of things. In fact, he had been so intrigued when the friend mentioned the mystery of the house that he had jokingly asked to borrow a shovel. Soon he realised that it would take more equipment than just a shovel. And although John had no idea what exactly he was looking for, he decided to investigate.
No Idea Where to Begin
John enjoyed thinking about the mystery that was hiding in his garden. What could it be? He knew that there might be no truth in the rumour and that he might not find anything at all. But he also knew that he might end up finding something amazing. Unable to bear the uncertainty any longer, John thought about what he would do next. He could plug all the holes and fix his lawn later. The task at hand was more important than the appearance of his garden. So he got out a shovel and started digging.
A Triple Digit Threat
John was so determined to get to the bottom of these rumours that he was prepared to overcome a lot of difficulties. In Tucson, Arizona, it gets hot in the summer – triple-digit hot. It is dangerous to work in such conditions. Many people would have given up at this point. But John was not discouraged and continued his job. With his shovel in hand, he dug. And dug. He hoped that this hard work would pay off.
Holes in the Yard
John had no plans when he started the arduous digging. He simply started digging one hole after another in his garden. After digging four different holes and pretty much trashing his garden, John still hadn’t found anything. He began to worry that if there was indeed something to be found out there, he might have destroyed it with his digging. Disappointment set in and John temporarily gave up hope of finding the hidden secret of his garden.
He Got an Idea
John’s temporary discouragement and the interruption of his digging caused him to look at his situation in a different light. He had a new idea that could finally help him find the mysterious treasure of his house. He sought out the Tucson City Archives and turned page after page until he found information about his own house. John was rewarded for his intense research in a very special way. He received more clues about what might be lurking under his lawn.
The Tucson city records provided John with the information he already knew, such as the year his house was built. But thanks to a rough sketch in the records, John learned something new. According to the documents, a company called Whitaker Pools had applied for a permit to work on the property as early as 1961 – more than 50 years earlier. But John’s house didn’t have a pool. So what exactly had the pool company been doing there in 1961? The answer to this question surprised everyone.
The Mystery Deepens
Now that he had a sketch and more detailed information, John knew he had to be more careful in his search. No more careless digging with a shovel based only on instinct! No, it was time to search in earnest. So John hired a team of consultants equipped with all the appropriate tools, including metal detectors. Hopefully they would get to the bottom of this mystery once and for all.
Did the Metal Detectors Find Anything?
As the search became more targeted, John hoped he would soon learn if the old, mysterious rumours about his new house were true. But while the team of consultants searched different areas of his backyard, the metal detectors remained silent. Tension mounted as it looked like the consultants would also come up empty-handed in their search. But then the detectors began to explode. The sound was music to John’s ears.
Several Sites for Further Exploration
John was overjoyed when he heard the experts’ metal detectors beeping in the hot Arizona air. And there was more good news: the devices found not just one interesting spot, but two! After carefully marking both spots in his garden, John was able to rest for a moment while he planned the next step of his search. Now he would concentrate entirely on the search and not proceed randomly. He could hardly wait to discover what was under his garden.
He Needs a Shovel – again
John grabbed his shovel and set about the hot and difficult work of digging again. This time, however, he knew exactly where to focus his efforts. Full of anticipation, he began digging at the two spots the metal detectors had found. At the second spot the advisors had spotted, his work quickly paid off. It wasn’t long before he felt his shovel hit something hard, and he heard the telltale scraping of metal on metal. John was so close to solving the mystery of his backyard.
1.5 Metres Underground
John had dug about a metre deep when he first felt his shovel hit a metal object. While he was happy to finally discover something, he began to worry that he had found a septic tank. Not only would a septic tank be a disappointing result after all this time and work, but it also meant that John had to be extra careful if he continued to dig nearby. Damaging a septic tank or destroying a pipe would be very bad news indeed.
It Was Not a Septic Tank!
He dug further, more carefully than before. To John’s great delight, he discovered that the object he had found was not a septic tank at all. No, it was something much, much more interesting than that. Gently, he used his shovel to uncover the structure. It wouldn’t be long before John’s discovery was out in the open for examination. The anticipation of this made the time pass quickly while John worked. John had finally figured out that the thing buried under the backyard of his new house was not a septic tank. But now that he had uncovered a significant part of the structure and could examine it visually, there seemed to be even more questions than when he started. The concrete form John had excavated appeared to be something that resembled an entrance. But where did it lead to, and how could it be entered?
A Long Day of Waiting
John was amazed when he realised that there was some kind of entrance or portal in his garden, buried deep underground. He was so close to getting to the bottom of the mystery! He proceeded to clear the area of earth and discovered that the entrance had a hatch with a lid. Carefully he lifted the lid off, but his work as a fire chief had taught him that it was not yet safe to enter the opening. You can probably imagine how excited John was to finally learn about the hidden secret of his backyard. But it was necessary to wait a day. His firefighter training had taught him about the dangers of confined spaces. The area could be filled with mould, which could be very dangerous to inhale, or toxic fumes. John also knew that he would need to have several people nearby when he eventually went down to help in case the building collapsed or he somehow became trapped.
The Moment of Truth Had Come for John
After a wait that must have felt unbearable, it was finally time for John to enter the hidden room behind the flap. The moment of truth had arrived for the backyard explorer – he would learn what exactly was down there. John dismounted and peered cautiously into the hole framed by the metal hatch. The sight that met his curious eyes was totally unexpected! So what was it? When John first looked down through the hatch, he was completely amazed at what he saw. It appeared to be an array of sharp metal blades. What could their purpose be? It didn’t take long for his eyes to adjust and he could make out what he was really seeing. The seemingly randomly arranged metal blades were actually part of a spiral staircase that led down even deeper into the earth beneath John’s property.
A Risky Venture
In his anticipation, John would have loved to rush down the spiral staircase he had just discovered in his garden. After all, the truth behind the mystery was so close he could almost touch it. But he didn’t. Both his training as a fire captain and his common sense kept John from entering the underground room he had found right on his own property. There were just too many risks involved. What were the risks of simply going down the spiral staircase into the earth? Well, for a start, the structure was simply not stable. It had been built more than 50 years before John discovered it, and he had no idea what condition it might be in. And secondly, John knew it was best to have people with him when he finally descended into the hatch. They could help him in case he got trapped or the structure collapsed. So he assembled a team of friends to help him make the structure safe.
They Formed a Plan
John played it safe with his find in the backyard. Although he was full of excitement because he had finally solved the mystery, he knew that his safety was more important than immediate gratification. Together with his friends, whom he trusted, John devised a strategy to safely enter the underground room. Their patient planning was soon to pay off in a very big and unexpected way. And fortunately, they documented the discovery along the way to share the details of their findings with others.
Prepare the Passage
John had no idea what condition the building was in after being unused for decades. So he knew that he and his friends would have to reinforce the entire concrete entrance and repair it where necessary. The spiral staircase that led down into the underground room also needed a thorough examination. The metal steps were almost completely rusted through and not yet safe enough to stand on. They might even collapse if someone tried to use them in their current state.
Solid as a Rock
John Sims and his friends widened and reinforced the entrance area around the stairs with new rebar and several layers of concrete. To ensure the safety of the visitors, this step was absolutely necessary. The risk of collapse was otherwise too great. With much curiosity and enthusiasm, they poured layer after layer of concrete. The Arizona heat made their task even more unbearable. They put up a tent to block the sun and keep the temperature relatively cool.
Still a Few Tasks Ahead
John is obviously the type of person who thinks ahead. He knew that when he was finally able to enter the mysterious structure in his backyard, he would have to be able to see. Many people would just rush in with a torch, but not John. So he installed a power line that could be used to illuminate the room. Once the power line was ready, he and his friends could use power tools down there if needed.
A Breath of Fresh Air
As we read, John was very aware of the danger of confined, enclosed spaces because of his work as a firefighter. In the 50-year-old building he was about to enter, mould and gas leaks were a big problem. John and his friends installed a pipe in the entryway. It would bring fresh air into the room and make it safer when they could finally go inside. It was almost time for everyone to see the secret long hidden in John’s backyard.
One Last Step
Unfortunately, John and his friends were not yet able to repair the rusty spiral staircase – it had to be repaired from inside the room. It was too risky to put any weight on the stairs as no one knew how stable they were. So how were people going to safely descend into the room? John had the solution. He got a tall ladder and placed it safely in the entrance area. At last he would know what was down there.
The Wait Was Over
At last John was able to reveal the secret he had heard his friend talk about. He was almost obsessed with finding out the truth behind the rumour and had been working very hard towards this moment. He was about to climb down the ladder and into the mysterious hole in his garden – the first person in 50 years to succeed in doing so! As John descended, his imagination ran wild. What would he see there?
The Rumours Had Been True
John lowered himself down the ladder rung by rung as his excitement grew. He climbed off the ladder and was finally rewarded for his hard work. He was shocked to learn that there was a huge room deep under his garden! And it was in good condition, with a solid floor. But that was not all. In fact, there was a whole tunnel system down there that formed a complex! John’s friend, the former owner of the house John had recently bought, had told him about the existence of a secret buried deep in the backyard. Through investigation, John had learned that the structure in question had been built by a company called Whitaker Pools. But this underground cavern was clearly not a pool. The year of construction, 1961, was an important clue to the structure’s intended purpose. And John knew what that purpose was as soon as he saw the room.
The Years Had Taken Their Toll
Although the building seemed to be in pretty good shape considering its age, one thing told John that he still had some work to do to make the space safe. The clue was in the fibreglass ceiling. Fibreglass can be extremely toxic to humans if they breathe it in, and it irritates bare skin. And the fibreglass in the ceiling was disintegrating – not a good thing. But luckily it could be repaired. And John, after all the work he had put into it, was not ready to give up his new object anyway.
A Relic of the Cold War
Doing Double the Work
As it turned out, Whitaker Pools responded to consumer demand during the Cold War by adding backyard bomb shelters to its list of services. In fact, this was fairly common across the country. When pool builders realised that building bomb shelters was not all that different from building swimming pools, many of them expanded their offerings accordingly. By 1961, a Los Angeles company called Catalina Pools had built 500 shelters!
An Underground Opportunity
What would you do if you discovered that you had a huge labyrinth of rooms right in your own garden? How would you use the space? John’s friends had some fun ideas for him, including a cigar bar, a wine cellar or a “man cave”. Other people around the world have converted old bunkers into beautiful modern homes, hotels, art galleries and recording studios. But John had something else in mind for his backyard treasure.
John Connects With Others With Backyard Bomb Shelters
After posting online about his bomb shelter, John Sims learned that he was in good company. His post on Reddit spread like a virus and he began networking with others who also have bunkers in their backyards. His interest in these shelters and in the Cold War era has grown. He even has plans to turn his own historic bunker into a museum of sorts – which means he has a lot of work ahead of him. So what was the next step for John?
It All Started With a Crowdfunding
John’s next step in restoring his bunker was to set up a GoFundMe page. He wrote: “Hi, I’m John and I need help restoring an old fallout shelter I found in my backyard. He was specifically looking for assistance in reconstructing the entrance area of the shelter, as it needed to be completed before he could begin repairs and improvements on the ground floor. He continued, “The upper entrance needs to be concreted to secure the entrance and the round metal stairs need to be replaced.” John estimates that the project will cost about $2,000.
The Staircase Is Ready!
Although John’s GoFundMe campaign was widely shared and he received several hundred dollars in donations, the goal of raising $2,000 to rebuild the staircase was ultimately missed. Of course, that didn’t stop John from continuing with his plans! He even took time off from his job to work on the all-important staircase. After sharing a number of updates on the project, John reported that the entrance area was finally finished: “The stairs are done! Now it’s easy and safe to go in and out.” He also posted a photo of the finished staircase, painted in an attractive shade of blue.
Now That the Stairs Are Done
On his GoFundMe page, John shared more details about his shelter now that the stairs and entrance are finished. “My plans are to clean up the inside, repaint it and turn it into a really cool man cave, HAM shelter and civil defence museum. He continued, “When I started this project, I did a lot of research on the Cold War era and how civilian fears led a lot of people to build these bunkers.” The discovery of this bunker has clearly had a huge impact on John’s life!
Fill the Shelter With History
John has already started gathering materials and props for the museum part of his backyard. He says he has found artefacts such as water supply barrels, Geiger counters, radios and plumbing equipment that he wants to display. Pictured here are some of the items John plans to display in his museum. It is impressive that he has been able to find so many old items in excellent condition to show to others. Incredible, isn’t it? Would you put this in your garden? I’m not sure…