The Luxurious Cold War Era Underground Bomb Shelter in Las Vegas

During the Cold War, the U.S. government launched a country-wide effort to prepare citizens for a possible thermonuclear war. Children were taught at school to duck under desks and families were instructed to build fallout shelters and stock food. Some Americans took these suggestions very seriously, and among them was businessman Jerry Henderson. He figured why build a bland fallout shelter when you can build a luxurious one? Henderson’s shelter at his home in Las Vegas was 26 feet underground and built for comfort. Fitted with a swimming pool, a sauna, a garden with fountains and waterfalls, a mini golf course, and even a hidden barbecue, it was a showplace. Instead of running for cover when the bomb hit, Henderson figured it would be easier and safer to just live there all the time. From the outside, it's a modest 2-story suburban house, with the only thing out of place being the large number of air-conditioning units on the grounds, camouflaged by clusters of large rocks. Behind another cluster of rocks is a carefully hidden entrance that takes visitors down an elevator shaft to a massive 5,000-square-foot basement. The subterranean bomb shelter is a two-bedroom house with a kitchen and bathrooms and additional rooms for guests. The house has a porch that opens onto a faux courtyard that surrounds the house and is planted with fake trees and fake flowers and painted with scenes of hills and snow. To mimic lighting conditions at different times of the day, lights are dimmed or brightened. At night, stars on the ceiling are turned on. The shelter was built in 1978 and Henderson continue to live in it until his death in 1983. After his wife passed away in 1989, the house was left to a relative, who eventually sold it in 2014 for $1.15 million. The house was put on the market again in 2020 and remains listed for $5.9 million.