f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Wittenberg bomb shelter

Posted Friday, April 24, 2015, at 12:00 AM

Order this photo

This photograph was published in the Southeast Missourian on Oct. 7, 1966 with a story announcing the dedication of a new river ferry service between Wittenberg, Missouri and Grand Tower, Illinois. Here is an excerpt:

Leaving the ferry, it is but a short drive by automobile to this historic old town of Wittenberg. Once a flourishing trade center, the town has withered and died, and only a few people remain to call it home. But much history has been made here and the town still has a definite claim, which is one of the most unique bomb shelters of its type throughout the country.

The shelter has been dug out of rock by hand and is named for its owner, C.R. Nennert, a retired Lutheran teacher. A large sign atop the shelter proudly points out its location. Mr. Nennert said the shelter was built in 1854 as a storage room for a large brewery concern. After the brewery closed, Mr. Nennert said the shelter was used to grow mushrooms prior to being put to its present use.

Major portion of the shelter consists of three rooms, each large enough to accommodate several hundred persons. The walls and roof are made of stone bricks said to have been carved by hand from surrounding hills. The roof has been an architectural masterpiece from the time it was built, constructed of a nearly perfect arch with two ventilation shafts. Another portion of the shelter is a man-made cave carved out of solid rock. This part is damp and stalagmites of ice reach upward from the floor.

Order this photo

The entrance to the former brewery in Wittenberg, Missouri was photographed in 1971. (Steve Robertson photo)


View 1 comment or respond
Community discussion is important, and we encourage you to participate as a reader and commenter. Click here to see our Guidelines. We also encourage registered users to let us know if they see something inappropriate on our site. You can do that by clicking "Report Comment" below.
  • I was going to say I shot the top photo, but there was snow on the ground in my photo. Check it out then and in color a couple of years ago.


    I was fortunate enough to meet C.R. Nennert in 1966, and the last owner, David Holley, in 2011. Mr. Holley, a great teller of tales, died in 2012.

    -- Posted by ksteinhoff on Fri, Apr 24, 2015, at 2:53 AM