Click the cover to read the complete digital edition
All things to all people
Notes and letters
Oct. 8 & 22, 8p. Long-form improv in an intimate setting, so close to the Strip you can taste it! Come early to participate in improv games and...
Oct. 22, 3:30-7:30p. Have fun at this safe event where costumes are encouraged. Carnival games, trick or treat town, $2 laser tag, $2 haunted...
Oct. 23, 7:30p. Celebrating its 39th season, ASQ is recognized as one of the world’s foremost quartets. Championing contemporary music and...
Notes from underground
Story by Andrew Kiraly
What do you call the design style of this underground house? Subterranean Modern? Paranoidism? Suburban Apocalyptica? Maybe Cold War Just-In-Case-ism? This underground home — a legendary if largely unseen feature of the Vegas Valley cityscape — was built in the late 1960s by Avon founder Girard Henderson. Like many Americans at the time, Henderson shuddered to imagine a nuclear holocaust raining destruction on the U.S. Unlike most Americans, however, Henderson could afford to do something in case the unthinkable happened. On Spencer Avenue just north of Flamingo Road, he built what might be called a luxury fallout shelter, a $10 million, 16,500 square-foot subterranean spread that could ostensibly survive a Bolshevik bombing — in style and comfort. It came complete with its own underground generator and fuel tank, an “outdoor” backyard with fake trees and artificial turf, heated swimming pool and hot tub, and a computerized lighting system that cycles “day” and “night.”
Henderson was not alone in building against the threat of the bomb; in fact, the home’s protected “ship-in-a-bottle” design was inspired by builder Jay Swayze, who had even founded a company, Underground World Homes, dedicated to protecting (rich) people from what Swayze saw as probable nuclear war and an uninhabitable planetary surface. But — perhaps fortunately — no mass market ever materialized for deep-dig digs, and the company disbanded in the mid-1960s. Henderson’s underground house remains, however, now in a different age with different worries and fears. Which raises the question: Maybe it’s nuke-proof, but can it withstand a zombie apocalypse? (sources: Los Angeles Times, UNLV Special Collections)
Pick up your Desert Companion today at one of these Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Jamba Juice locations.
Also available at Clark County and Henderson libraries.