Cold War Bomb Shelter Supplies Uncovered At Opelika Church

Renovating old buildings can sometimes lead to finding pieces of the past. That's the case with First Baptist Church in Opelika. Items from the Cold War have turned up after 40 years.

The sanctuary at First Baptist Church in Opelika was built 50 years ago, and it was a safe haven in case of war.

"Back in the late 1950s and 60s, because of the church being so huge, it was being used as a civil defense shelter in case of a nuclear attack," said Ken Adams, director of building maintenance at FBCO.

As time went on, items from the shelter were forgotten until a few weeks ago. The church is adding 600 seats, and renovations uncovered a secret in the north stairwell.

"First aid supplies, water purification equipment, soda crackers sealed up in tins," said Randy Maynard, site manager for Marshall Design-Build.

There was a tiny door on one side of the stairwell. It remained closed for nearly 40 years.

"We couldn't find the key to it, so the contractors broke into it while we were doing remodeling," Adams said.

Workers brought out barrels used for commodes, medical kits expiring in September 1967, penicillin and other medications. Some items, such as the crackers, were tossed, but the rest will go to the Museum of East Alabama. Who knows what other secrets lie within those walls.

"There's been rumors over the years of a room that was enclosed with a bunch of items put into it," said Adams.

Those rumors proved to be true. They uncovered another room last Saturday with some papers inside. Church officials say those were hidden there as a prank back in the 1970s before it was sealed. Renovations to the sanctuary should be complete by the end of the year.