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Target Austin
Texas Department of Public Safety Historical Museum and Research Center
  • Map
  • Highlights
    Tom Attra sold newspapers downtown from 1928 until 1980. After World War II, he was in charge of all downtown sales for the morning Austin American and the evening Democratic Statesman. He later worked as a valet and greeter both at the Driskill and the Bradford-Austin. Tom also won the Golden Gloves championship in 1942 in the light-heavyweight division.
    "C L" The shoeshine man continued to have a stand in the Littlefield Mall where Wild About Music is now located up until about 2003.
    The 12-story Perry Brooks Building at 720 Brazos St. is still in use as an office building (rebranded the Perry Brooks Tower after recent upgrades)
    Matt's El Rancho restaurant has been an Austin landmark since 1952.
    This is the former El Rancho location on 1st Street (now Cesar Chavez) just east of Congress Avenue.
    Roger Klukis played by Austin actor Harvey R. Herbst, Dorothy Klukis played by Austin actor Coleen Hardin
    This is Lavaca St. facing south at about 13th.  The "Toys" was the Toy Palace.  Visible on the back left is the First United Methodist Church.
    This was likely shot in the demonstration fallout shelter that the city built in Zilker Park
  • Educator links
    Segment 1 for lesson plan - Target Texas: The Cold War and the Lone Star State
    Segment 2 for lesson plan - Target Texas: The Cold War and the Lone Star State
    Segment 3 for lesson plan - Target Texas: The Cold War and the Lone Star State
    Segment 4 for lesson plan - Target Texas: The Cold War and the Lone Star State
  • Transcript
    It's a hot June day in Austin, Texas.
    Congress Avenue has the usual mid-morning traffic.
    At Barton Springs, some are escaping the oppressive heat by swimming in the cool clear spring water.
    Others are achieving varying degrees of tan or sunburn on the grassy banks.
    At City Hall, the city council is listening to the complaints of a citizens group urging paving of the streets around Zilker School.
    On the campus of the University of Texas, the shirtsleeve summer students are going to and from their classes.
    At the Paramount Theatre, Man on a String is playing to an audience of shoppers, students, and a few hooky-playing business men.
    Tom Attra is selling the noon edition of the Austin Statesman on his familiar corner.
    In Harry Reasonover's barber shop at the Driskill Hotel, business is good, with every chair filled.
    Mary Halbouty, the manicurist has two customers waiting. 
    C.L. Davis is six pairs of shoes behind.
    Dorothy Klukis is hanging up the wash in her backyard, assisted by her five year old daughter, Kathy.
    Clarence Philips is having lunch with a prospective insurance customer, Matt Martinez, owner of the El Rancho Mexican restaurant.
    Bob Gooding is reading the Safeway commercial in the noon news on KTBC radio when an alarm in radio control sounds. Following a procedure long since memorized, Gooding switches on the CONELRAD amplifier provided for air raid warnings.
    A voice tells him to switch to the CONELRAD frequency assigned KTBC, 640 kilocycles, and to standby for further instructions.
    Gooding immediately calls the radio transmitter to instruct the engineer to switch the KTBC transmitter from 590kc to 640kc at the prearranged cue. He next secures the CONELRAD tape provided according to prearranged plans and threads it on the tape recorder.
    He manipulates the necessary controls to broadcast the message on the tape over the air. The recorded voice of Jay Hodson advises the audience that this is a CONELRAD alert, and they're to switch their radios to the 640 frequency at once.
    Tarrell Blodgett, assistant city manager of Austin, and City Civil Defense Director enters the room.
    This is your Austin Civil Defense Director with an urgent message. Enemy missiles have been reported over Canada, traveling in a southerly direction. An air raid warning has been declared in this area. This means that possibly within twenty minutes the Austin area may be hit by missiles. There will not be time to evacuate. Repeat, there will not be time to evacuate.
    At Bergstrom Airforce Base near Austin, the alert has been sounded, and the men of the 4130th wing scramble for the giant B-52s according to well-rehearsed routine.
    In the huge fallout shelter room beneath the Department of Public Safety Building, the state civil defense team is assembling.
    Dorothy Klukis is combing her daughter's hair when she hears the announcement on the radio. In the distance she can hear the sound of sirens and whistles. Her first reaction is to call her husband at his law office at the downtown Brown Building. She's puzzled by the sound of a busy signal even before she dials.
    But Dorothy Klukis does not panic. She knows they are prepared, that their home contains a fallout shelter designed specifically for this emergency. She knows that the shelter room is stocked with at least two weeks supply of canned food, bottled water and fruit juices. Methodically she begins to close the windows of her house.
    Carolyn Gilbert is just finishing her letter when she hears the sirens and whistles. She goes to the window of the office to see if there is a fire in the vicinity; none is apparent.
    Tom Morgan who works for an advertising agency next door enters her office with the information that the building manager has just called and instructed him to order everyone from that floor into the basement of the building.
    Carolyn imagines that this is just some sort of civil defense drill, so she leisurely finishes her letter before leaving for the basement.
    Clarence Philips and his insurance prospect hear on the television set that the station is going off the air, and all viewers should dial their radios immediately to the 640kc frequency. Matt Martinez turns on the radio.
    Ignoring instructions not to attempt to evacuate, Philips immediately runs to his car. His purpose to get out of town as soon as he can.
    The streets are jammed. Parents trying to get home to their children, businessmen trying to get to their families, panic-stricken people trying to get out of town.
    Roger Klukis pulls into the driveway of his home and rushes inside.
    No time for greetings. They immediately go over their plan, pepared earlier for just such an emergency. Water - check, food - check, medical supplies - check, gas and electricity turned off - check, battery radio - check, flashlight - check. They are as prepared as they can be.
    Fifteen minutes following the alert, the Roger Klukis family enters their fallout shelter room and lock the thick door.
    Sixteen minutes past the first alert, Carolyn Gilbert is in the basement of the Perry Brooks Building. She's not frightened, only irritated. She's convinced that this is just another practice alert. She's fretting because they won't let her leave to call her mother and tell her that she'll be late for lunch. She's considering writing a complaint to the Director of Civil Defense for this "useless inconvenience— grown men playing war!"
    Seventeen minutes past the first alert, Clarence Philips is a very frightened man. He's trying desperately to get out of town, but traffic has delayed him. Now he discovers his car is out of fuel and is coasting to a permanent stop. He leaves the car and on foot continues his flight.
    By now the streets of Austin are almost deserted.
    And then at nineteen minutes past the original alert...A nuclear explosion occurs 25 miles to the west of Austin in the hills of the Edwards Plateau.
    This is your Austin Civil Defense Director. An explosion, presumed to be nuclear has occurred near Austin. Persons in shelters, stay where you are. Those who are not in shelters should take cover immediately. If shelters are not available, go to a subbasement. If a sub-basement is not readily accessible, proceed to the nearest building. Close all doors and windows. Stay on the first floor near the center of the house.
    At the state control center, the weatherman is working over a fallout map. His findings are teletyped to local civil defense directors around the state.
    City Civil Defense Director Blodget is now operating from the basement of the police building.
    This is your Austin Civil Defense Director. Heavy radioactive fallout is expected along the line from San Antonio to Waco to Mason to Brennam and 15 miles on either side of this line. This fallout may be expected at any time. This fallout will be very heavy in the Austin area and anyone in the open will receive a lethal dose in a short period of time. Take shelter immediately.
    In the security of their fallout shelter room, the Roger Kukis family is composed as they await the all clear, which they realize may be several weeks in coming. Dorothy is reading to Kathy, who thinks they are inside because of a storm outside.
    In the basement of the Perry Brooks building, Carolyn Gilbert has regained her composure and is assisting the building manager in itemizing the supply of food, soft drinks and beer that was quickly gathered from the nearby PK Grill and Commodore Perry Hotel.
    On the outskirts of Austin, Clarence Philips is near exhaustion and continues to walk away from the city. He has but one thought - to get away from this nightmare.
    In the state control center, beneath the Department of Public Safety building, the government of the State of Texas continues to function. A representative from each state agency is on hand in the huge shelter, conducting by telephone, radio, and teletype the affairs of his office.
    Seven hours after the enemy missile deposited its deadly load in the hills west of Austin, the Roger Klukis family is comfortably eating a supper of canned beef, peas, potatoes and bottled water.
    Carolyn Gilbert is munching a cold bologna sandwich that was made to sell for 25 cents some seven hours ago.
    Clarence Philips, several miles outside Austin is not thinking of food. He has been vomiting for sometime now and is also suffering from diahrea.
    For days, the city lies silent.
    Quietly the radioactivity decays. The streets become less deadly. The days become a week, two weeks.
    In the shelter of the Klukis home, the occupants are becoming restless. They long for sunlight and fresh air. And then the news they've been waiting for comes over the radio.
    This is your Austin Civil Defense Director. Our monitors report that radiation in the city is now decayed to a point where those in shelters may come out without harm.
    To Roger and Dorothy and Kathy Klukis, this is the end of the storm. To Carolyn Gilbert, this is the answer to a prayer. To Clarence Philips, this news is of no consequence. And slowly, Austin, Texas returns to life.