The Civil Defense system was a program the U.S. federal government set up in 1950. It was established to address the threat of a nuclear attack on United States by the Soviet Union. Because the military would be otherwise occupied, the Civil Defense system was intended to coordinate civilian operations in the aftermath of a nuclear strike. It also took on the job of preparing the civilian population for an attack, through the production of educational and reference materials. The triangle-and-circle CD logo became a fixture of American life during the Cold War, including some road signs.
In New York, Civil Defense signs were placed on major highways throughout the state. These signs marked highways that would be important to Civil Defense efforts after an attack on one of New York’s major cities. This particular sign, posted in the New York City area, reads “In the event of an attack on New York City, this highway will be closed to all traffic except Civil Defense and military vehicles.”
Our In the Event of an Enemy Attack on New York City sign is a precise replica made from photos of signs installed in the field. We’ve taken great pains to make sure that every detail of this sign is just like the original. The layout and fonts are exactly like those on the old signs; it uses the standard highway sign fonts for the black text and a custom bold font for the phrase “THIS HIGHWAY WILL BE CLOSED.” The Civil Defense logo appears at the top of the sign. To our knowledge, none of the original signs have survived to the present day. It’s likely they were sold for scrap when tensions with the Russians cooled. But you can bring this Cold War relic back to life with our faithful replica.
Our In the Event of an Enemy Attack on New York City sign is printed in the United States on heavy 14-gauge steel. It has a glossy, non-reflective coating that will withstand the elements outdoors for years to come. We’ve scaled the gargantuan original sign down to a range of more manageable sizes for home display. Take your pick of sizes from 12 in. × 9 in. all the way up to 40 in. × 30 in. All sizes include two convenient mounting holes.
If you’re interested in purchasing a sign you know of from days gone, and you don’t see on our website, we’d be happy to hear about it! We’re always putting together new designs, and we’d be happy to help with yours! Just contact Jake to get started on your custom order.