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Examining the history of Brookeville’s “Rescue Street”

  • Published in Local

street signThe intersection of Rena Court and DuBarry Drive previously was the site where Civil Defense Administration personnel learned what to do in case of nuclear attack. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  Just a mile or two from historic Brookeville, which served as the U.S. capital for a day, lies the site of a bombed-out area where the Civil Defense Administration trained its staff on what to do if nuclear weapons rained down on an American city.

Six partially-completed concrete-and-brick buildings were built on what became known as Rescue Street. The buildings had neither windows nor doors. No one ever lived in this ghost town, but it was an active place. Two-week training courses, which occurred daily, featured scenarios with lots of fake blood, smoke, and the saving of frantic, injured people. These “victims” were often students from nearby colleges.

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A look back at history through clear glasses

17972 miscellaneous nuclear explosion explosionI am a child of the 1950's and 1960's and have also witnessed the challenges of the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's and where we are now in the 21st century. I experienced the Cold War first-hand and remember quite vividly practicing shelter drills in P.S. 213 by taking cover under my desk in case we were attacked with an atomic bomb. Even at that age I questioned the effectiveness of that particular strategy.
As a student in J.H.S. 166, I remember the anxiety of the nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the leadership provided by our young president in addressing the threat to our nation. I remember quite vividly, while in Brooklyn College, the feeling of panic when the student deferment was pulled during the height of the Vietnam War as well as the relief I felt when my lottery number was 272.

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