An underground look at an historic home - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

An underground look at an historic home

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STOUGHTON (WKOW) -- Even with all of the new residential construction in and around Madison, many historic homes are still standing.  

A Victorian home in Stoughton has something not typical for the era.  Instead it reflects a different time in our nation's past that some fear could repeat itself.

On a tour of his 1902 home, Marc-Antoine Laporte began by showing us features you would expect to see in a Victorian home like pocket doors, period wood work, a fireplace and an old typewriter.  "When it's your first Victorian house the first thing you realize after two months is there's always work to do on it, always," he said.  "You need to be prepared when you buy a Victorian house."

Something most Victorian home owners don't need to be prepared for though is what's lower Laporte's basement -- a bomb shelter.  "It's all concrete... Not being American, it's something that you see in the movies," said Laporte originally from Montreal.  

Previous owners tell us the shelter was constructed in the 1950s during the Soviet Union nuclear bomb scare.  Back then, contractors came out in unmarked white trucks to the Stoughton house, so the rest of the neighbors wouldn't know.  The only evidence you can see of the bomb shelter from the outside of the home is some concrete blocks underneath the deck in the back.  

More than half a century later, some fear a nuclear attack could still happen in the U.S., but for now Laporte says he and his wife are not actively worried.  They don't use the bomb shelter.  He says it's even too humid for storage, and the radon levels tested high.  

"If there's a tornado, we'll be very happy to have it and survive," said Laporte.  

He says he does not plan to fill it or get rid of it in any capacity though.  "It's part of the history of the house.  This house went through the 50s, the 40s, the Cold War... It has to stay here."

According to, heavy and dense materials like the concrete used in the Laporte's bomb shelter could help shield you from a nuclear blast, but even a shelter wouldn't protect you from a direct hit of an explosion.  

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