How a Canadian built a DIY nuclear bunker from 42 buried buses and plenty of concret (19 Pics)

Bruce Beach is originally from Kansas.

Fires, floods, thieves, rodents: The elderly couple has survived all manner of calamity in recent weeks, except for the one disaster they have actually been preparing for over the past 50 years — a nuclear war. Beach is the founder of Ark Two, a privately owned, 10,000-square-foot nuclear fallout shelter, sunk beneath several metres of concrete and soil on a 12.5 acre parcel of land near his home. 
Bruce Beach walks through an exit of the Ark Two bomb shelter.

Beach, who has the wild white beard of a bible prophet, is originally from Winfield, Kansas. His father owned a grocery store and his mother worked in the courthouse. He was an only child and a target for bullies, chiefly a kid named John Dunn, whom Beach reluctantly agreed to fight in elementary school, declaring after he had won that he would never fight again.
And he hasn’t. He was always more interested in survival, anyway.
Bruce Beach sits outside of the Ark Two bomb shelter.

each was living in Chicago and working as a general contractor and electrical engineer around the time that President John F. Kennedy was advising Americans to stock up on canned goods and build backyard bomb shelters. He figured a better approach to ride out the coming nuclear war was to abandon the city entirely. So he moved to Canada in 1970.
Beach eventually settled in the village where Jean was born. Now 90 and practically deaf, though sharp, she responded quickly when asked why she fell in love with her husband.
“I’ve often asked myself that question,” she said, laughing. “I almost married another guy but my Dad broke it up, and I am glad he did. Bruce takes care of me — and I take care of him.”
A portrait of Bruce Beach’s deceased son Bahji at his home in Melanchthon, Ont.

She made him a peanut butter sandwich (on white bread) for lunch the day we visited. He cut it into three sections, washing it down with a Dr. Pepper, a beverage, he noted, that was invented in Texas.
Jean’s family also had land that was perfect for a bomb shelter, and over time Beach’s idea blossomed beneath the ground in a field bordered by a stream, and neighbours who aren’t interested in discussing Bruce Beach.
“People think, ‘What a nut,’ and I know that, but I don’t mind,” he says. “I understand the world looks upon me that way.”
Bruce Beach works on his computer at his home.

Bruce Beach unlocks the main gate to the Ark Two bomb shelter.

Construction began in 1980. Beach started buying old school buses – for $300 a piece — and excavated the property, eventually planting 42 buses in the earth and covering them with concrete and soil. (Buses have reinforced steel roofs, and make for good bomb shelter molds). All was ready by 1982. Thirty-five years later, the Ark still is ready, sort of.
The school buses on Beach’s property.

Inside Ark Two.

Bruce Beach walks past a dentists chair in the underground Ark Two bomb shelter.

There were several storage bins of toilet paper.
“Those aren’t for use, but for bartering,” Beach explained. “We have all the comforts of home.” There is a brig, mortuary, dentist’s chair, decontamination room, several chess sets – to teach the kids — and a box marked “radiation suits.” The scope of the Ark is staggering; it is a moldy museum to the atomic age. Alas, at its present age, it appears better suited to filming a horror movie shoot than sheltering humans.
“We got to get things tidied up,” Beach said.
The children’s daycare at the Ark Two bomb shelter.

Bruce Beach shows the children’s room.

One of the challenges of preparing for the end, and not having it come, is that technology keeps changing. The shelter’s three security monitors are from old Commodore 64 computers. There is a working landline, with a rotary phone, and a jar of pickles from 1987.
“I don’t know how many tons of food we have had to throw out over the years,” Beach says.
He holds work weekends at the site, for like-minded souls. Most volunteers only come once, and so he has winnowed the list of invites to the 50 semi-regulars, all of whom are guaranteed a spot in the Ark Two, originally built to accommodate 350.
Maps in the underground Ark Two bomb shelter.

“I’ll probably have trouble getting people to come in,” Beach admits.
His two adult children are no longer interested in hearing their Dad prattle on about nuclear war. Even Jean, sweet as she is, gets tired of her husband’s apocalyptic monologues.
“It wears on my wife,” he says.
An above ground bunker and power generator room on Beach’s property.

A Bible near the entrance to the Ark Two bomb shelter.
Computers and phones in the underground bunker.
Bruce Beach walks towards the kitchen’s soup boiler in Ark Two.
The women’s washroom in Ark Two.

Radiac Detector in the garage of Bruce Beach’s home.

Bruce Beach walks through an exit of Ark Two.
How a Canadian built a DIY nuclear bunker from 42 buried buses and plenty of concret (19 Pics) How a Canadian built a DIY nuclear bunker from 42 buried buses and plenty of concret (19 Pics) Reviewed by Your Destination on November 11, 2017 Rating: 5

No comments