Jon Hay, the co-founder of Celestial Seasonings, became quite anxious during the Cold War. In the midst of whisperings about rampant bomb droppings and toxic explosions, Hay decided to build a bomb shelter in Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains for his family’s protection.
By the time the bomb shelter was “completed,” Cold War threats had somehow dissipated as did Hay’s anxiety about eminent disaster. He scraped his original bomb shelter plans, replaced the outer cave wall with 2” thick cinder block and installed a drinking water aqueduct and hydroelectric plant. He also installed a “Fred Astaire dance floor” in the great room as a way to make the cave appeal to Hollywood elite.
Hay eventually sold the then named Beckham Creek Cave to someone who used it for lavish parties. The next owner used it as a $1,000/night resort. The current owner defaulted on the loan and now Houston investors have brought in designer Zach Lee to renovate it for sales purposes.
Along with extensive mold remediation due to the omnipresence of rushing water, Lee installed two new high capacity geothermal units to control the cave’s dampness.
Carefully epoxied rock walls, smooth concrete surfaces, black steel and stalactites now dominate the cave’s four bedrooms, four bathrooms, kitchen and great room. There is a rainy season waterfall and an all season rock waterfall called the Spanish Piano.
Lee softened the look of the rock by adding cedar doors and headboards of local, repurposed barn wood and a honey locust wet bar. The master bedroom features a round bed and private bath with a cave wall shower and concrete bench. Lee installed rubberized membranes behind the wooden slats on the ceilings and walls to help prevent water drips.
There is also a “secret” backdoor access to the “chase cave,” a mile-long cave burrowed into the ground that is home to reptiles and rare “chase” bats.
Arkansas’s Beckham Creek Cave is now available for the listing price of $2.75M. The sales price includes the 5,500 square feet of living space, the rock, the mile-long “chase cave,” the 275 surrounding acres, the creek underneath the rock, the water all around and all the furnishings. What else could anyone possibly need or want from a luxury cave?