In the 1950s and ‘60s, Americans scrambled to find safe places to shelter during the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis when Russian nuclear rockets less than 100 miles from the Florida coast were poised to launch toward the U.S. Thousands of homeowners built backyard or basement shelters stocked to survive a missile attack that never came. As years went by and the threat of an atomic-bomb war became a distant memory, most of the shelters were turned into playrooms, food storage or simply abandoned. Today, yet another crisis has people once again scurrying to find the best and safest place to ride it out. One of the most elegant doomsday bunkers, located in Las Vegas and built by Avon cosmetics-executive Girard Henderson in 1978, is for sale with an increase from a $1.7 million sale in 2014 to a 2020 coronavirus-brain-busting $18 million.

A lovely home on its own, Henderson’s 5,000-square-foot house, grounds and amenities were built underground inside a 15,000-square-foot bunker of steel-reinforced concrete. The traditional-style home includes the best decor and design that the 1970s had to offer, and Henderson could afford whatever his heart desired. He wanted luxury and an underground lifestyle that would be as close to his and his family’s above ground lifestyle as possible. The interior is still decked out with a well-designed ‘70’s kitchen, great room with beamed ceilings, a large stone fireplace and sliding glass doors that open to the faux outside lawn and views. There are multiple conversation areas, a game room with two bars, and a theater room – a rarity in the 1970s. The master suite has vaulted-beamed ceilings and a hideaway television console at the foot of the bed that rises from the cabinet for viewing with the touch of a remote. There are five bedrooms and six elegant baths to keep a family or group of friends comfortable and socially separated for many weeks. There is also a generator and a 1,000-gallon water tank.

The most dramatic and jaw-dropping element of the home is the “outdoor” space. Carpeted with artificial grass, studded with various types of trees, a swimming pool, fountain, BBQ disguised as a boulder . . and long-distance views. Varied views from mountains, valleys, woods with wildlife and even a jetliner view over Las Vegas . . all hand-painted murals with lighting that automatically changes from early morning to midday to evening and nightfall.

For those who are getting cabin fever during the COVID-19 lockdown, living in the comfort of a home with plenty of games, swimming, and having the space to invite healthy friends, it could be the perfect place to ride out the 2020 pandemic and have fun doing it. Up for a swim anyone?

For sale in Las Vegas, an underground home easy to convert into an amazing pandemic shelter. The $18 million price tag includes all furnishings and a year of caretaker and upkeep. Stephan LaForge at the St. Rose Branch of Berkshire Hathaway in Las Vegas holds the listing.

Photo credit:  Berkshire Hathaway


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