This Old House From 1964 Looks Normal Enough, But It's What's Underneath That Makes It So Special.

It's hard to imagine in 2015 that not long ago, people were earnestly afraid of the end of the world. This wasn't necessarily an unrealistic concern. The Cold War had plenty of people looking over their shoulders for threats they heard about daily. Fallout shelters were a popular addition to homes in this era; most were spartan affairs. Some were fairly deluxe. Others, well... others were designed for the homeowner to survive the apocalypse in more style and comfort than you'd expect.

One of the key limitations in any underground home is of course a lack of windows. It's amazing how big a difference a nice view can make in your outlook. Philanthropist and businessman Girard B. Henderson came up with the best possible compromise. His company, Underground World Homes, brought that wonderful outdoorsy feeling into his subterranean dwellings with murals, fake windows, lighting, even courtyards with Spanish tile roofs, all to sell the illusion of above-ground living.

Welcome to your home away from... the world.

It might seem a little dark and spooky but just wait until the lights come on.

Already there's a homey, rustic feel you wouldn't expect from a bunker. Plants and windows abound.

Who needs the boring yards of suburbia when you can have the yard of your fantasies as a painting.


The patio spaces offer a morning or an evening out in lush greenery.

You can even go "outside" for a game of shuffleboard.

Or open the windows at dinner for a nice breeze.

A weather station comes standard...

As does the stereo system. Stay entertained, or tune in to news from the apocalypse.


With so many thoughtful details, sometimes you'll completely forget you're deep underground.

When it's time for bed, you can leave the sun on to read a book...

And then switch it to "night" for a peaceful slumber.

Of course, unless the world really is coming to an end, you can always get some real fresh air. If you really want to, that is.

Your two-car garage is conveniently located and the real greenery is almost as nice as the artificial stuff downstairs.

Credit: LIFE Archives

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