Home Built to Survive Nuclear War Goes on Sale

Paul Ausick

What kind of shelter do you need to survive a nuclear blast? There was a time when that was an critical question for many Americans. Some dug holes in their backyards and built concrete “bomb shelters” while others looked for even more more survivable locations. The U.S. government carved a bunker out of Cheyenne Mountain, near Colorado Springs, in the 1960s to serve as a highly bomb-resistant command center in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States.

Another such shelter was carved out of a cave on Beckham Creek near Parthenon, Arkansas. The founder of Celestial Tea (now Hain Celestial Group), John Hay, purchased the cave in 1983 as a doomsday shelter for $146,000, and then spent $2 million to converting it into a shelter. Then he figured out that he probably didn’t need to worry about nuclear war any longer and sold the cave in 1987 to someone identified only as Mr. Richardson, who turned it into a nightclub.

The Beckham Creek Cave Lodge, as it’s now known, sits on about 257 acres and includes a maintenance barn, stables, an apartment, a helicopter land pad, and a lake-fed spring. And it’s on the market for $2.75 million. It was last week’s most viewed property at the Realtor.com website.

When the Cold War ended in 1989 with the fall of the Soviet Union, the property was renovated and converted into a 5,500 square foot home with four bedrooms, four baths and its own indoor waterfall. The home was renovated in 2007 and again in 2014. The property now functions as a luxury lodge with accommodations for eight people with a starting rental price of $1,200 a night.

For more details and photographs, visit the Realtor.com website.