Saturday, January 09, 2010

Selling a piece of 'California's Gold'

PBS personality Huell Howser, has listed his 60-acre Newberry Springs compound with its dome-shaped home for $750,000.

Vard Wallace, who built a business selling drafting machines and airplane parts to Lockheed Corp. and other aircraft companies during World War II, had the high desert retreat constructed as his getaway, according to Los Angeles Times archives. The home sits about midway between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Completed in 1968 and designed by Harold Bissner Jr., the spaceship-shaped home was to resemble the information center at the construction site of the nuclear power plant at San Onofre.

Built on a volcanic cinder cone, the dome has tempered glass walls at ground level. Concrete and beams form the dome, which has 360-degree views of the mountains and surrounding desert. At the apex of the dome is an observation deck.

The main house has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a conversation pit and a fireplace. The ceiling of the dome is covered with steam-bent fir. The compound also includes a guesthouse with one bedroom and one bathroom. There is a three-car carport.

Howser, 64, is host of the travel documentary show "California's Gold" (1991-present).

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