What lurks beneath our halls


file photo

In 2016, Eastern staff took a tour of the “bomb shelter.” Not many have had the honor, or fright, of going under the school since then.

Kaitlyn Choat

by Kaitlyn Choat

Many students are unaware of the history beneath our feet. A bomb shelter, located underneath the school, through Jane Hite Road, and has tunnels all throughout Middletown, is full of Eastern history.

Today, no students are allowed in the bomb shelter because of dangerous electrical lines and plumbing, Mr. Goodall said, though he used to give students tours.

Eastern High School opened in 1950 during the beginning of the Korean War and during the Cold War. The bomb shelter and tunnel systems provide insight into the conflict in the world at the time of Eastern’s opening.

While the tunnels show world history, they are also filled with Eastern history, most notably The Homeroom Club and a man nicknamed Clyde.

The Homeroom Club is a group of students in the early 1970s who gained access into the bomb shelter and used it as a hang out. They painted their initials on the ceiling and the walls and graffitied murals throughout the bomb shelter.

To this day, former members of the Homeroom club are proud to claim that they were a part of an elite group of students that left their mark underneath Eastern High School.

After the Homeroom Club disbanded, the bomb shelter got a new resident, a homeless man who lived in there in the late 1980s.

According to Mr. Goodall, the man was nicknamed Clyde. The cleaning staff saw him roaming the school at night and he took food from the cafeteria. Once it became clear he wasn’t a threat, the staff stopped trying to get him to leave.

One day, Clyde mysteriously disappeared. Food trays from the cafeteria were found in the bomb shelter, but no trace of Clyde. He was just gone.

“My theory was, why would a homeless person who had shelter, warmth in the winter, unlimited food supply, why would a homeless person ever leave here? Well, it’s my theory he never left. I think if you and I went further back in that tunnel, you would find the bones of Clyde,” Mr. Goodall said.

It’s likely we’ll never know what happened to Clyde. He may still be alive and living somewhere else, or he may have died in the bomb shelter as some, including Mr. Goodall, have speculated.

The bomb shelter, despite being closed off, is still today the home to both history and mystery, between the wars which caused it to be built, the club that left their mark in it, and the disappeared who was never found.