Remember “Blast from the Past“, that late-90s cold-war parody/rom-com that starred Brendan Fraser and Alicia Silverstone and told the story of a family that built a lavish underground bomb shelter beneath their LA home to ride out the apocalypse in? It was pretty terrible, but the weird thing about that movie is that it could have been based on a true story.
Built in the thick of Cold War-era paranoia by a guy named Jerry B. Henderson in 1978, the “underground house” you see here was built for Jerry and his family to wait out the end of the world. Now, the house is on the market for $1.7 million, which includes the two-bedroom underground home, a one-bedroom underground guest home, a two-bedroom and two-story caretaker’s house (because why survive the apocalypse at all if you have to do your own floors), and a four-car garage beneath a full acre of primo “above ground” Las Vegas property.
“They had it all down here,” says Winston King. He’s the head of of Kingly Properties, which is handling the sale of the house. “This vents through the tree behind it,” he explains upon opening up an artificial rock to reveal an underground outdoor grill. “I’ve been told when he built it, he had a million dollars of marble imported from Italy. It’s here on the fireplace and around the pool, now.”
Here’s a bit more history on this bomb shelter/living space from King:
Henderson made a lot of money in several companies, including Avon cosmetics, the Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. and the now-defunct Monterey Peninsula Television. In 1964, he married his second wife, Mary, and formed Underground World Homes.
At the New York World’s Fair in 1964 and 1965, he and his new company sponsored the exhibit “Why Live Underground.” The company was inspired in part by Henderson’s belief that the Cold War would not end as it did — with a David Hasselhoff concert and Mikhail Gorbachev tearing down that wall — but with the last remnants of humanity hunkered down in underground bunkers.
Henderson and his wife planned to hunker down in style. The home includes lavish wallpaper, a 360-degree mural, a putting green, lighted display cases and a large kitchen with built-in sound and a toaster built into the wall. The house even includes an underground yard that surrounds it on all four sides.
The home on Spencer Street is the second underground house Henderson had constructed for himself by Texas building contractors Kenneth and Jay Swayze. The first home was near Boulder, Colo.
Rather than building a shelter to duck into when the air raid sirens blew, the Hendersons lived underground full time. There is plenty of storage space and shelving so the couple could hole up for a year or more if they had to.
What do you think of the Blast from the Past theme home up there? Is it worth 1.7 million USD? When you consider that a bunch of evangelical con artists are charging several hundred thousand dollars to put ride out the apocalypse in their abandoned old salt mines, that $1.7 mil figure doesn’t seem so bad to me. Let us know what you think in the comments, below.