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News >  Idaho

For sale: Idaho home with a very negative view

"Big Mike" Molesworth, 62, stands in his survivalist home near Kamiah, Idaho. The $230,000, two-story, three-bedroom estate features razor wire fences and a concrete bunker.Associated Press (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Dean A. Ferguson Lewiston Tribune

KAMIAH, Idaho – Do you envision a dream home that shields you from nuclear holocaust? Marauding outlaws? Agents of Satan?

You’re in luck.

A $230,000, two-story, three-bedroom beauty nestled amid rolling pastures about 50 miles east of Lewiston is on the market.

The “Survivalist Home,” as advertised in north-central Idaho newspapers, was built in 1998 on 2 1/2 acres and designed as a haven from nuclear fallout and roving bands of outlaws, said owner Mike “Big Mike” Molesworth, 62.

“You won’t find another one like this up here,” Molesworth said.

His self-sufficient home is in part of Idaho that has drawn many people seeking havens from the world, such as those who came 13 years ago with constitutionalist Bo Gritz to form the Christian covenant communities Almost Heaven and Shenandoah, which are on 600 acres nearby in the Woodland area.

Anyone on a country drive on Caribel Road will spot Molesworth’s property and know it’s special.

The well-kept lawn, short gravel drive, outbuilding with storage for 10 cords of firewood and garden plot are enclosed by a 6-foot-tall fence topped with a vicious 2-foot whirl of concertina wire. The entrance has floodlights at a military-style checkpost.

“It was probably, maybe, a little extreme putting the razor wire up there,” Molesworth said. “But if things go bad, you won’t have time to put it up later, or even go buy things.”

The Bible warns of tough times ahead, Molesworth said.

Sometime soon, someone is bound to detonate a suitcase nuclear bomb and spark mass unrest, and in the ensuing chaos, the razor wire can keep starving neighbors from raiding the garden, he said.

The home’s crown jewel is the bunker.

Behind 8 inches of rebar-filled concrete is a bathroom, bedroom with bunk beds, a kitchen, two walk-in food and supply closets, and a room for tools and power generators. The opening to a 3,000-gallon water tank is inside, and there’s access to a 1,700-gallon cistern that fills from a stream crossing the property.

The bunker makes up about a third of the 1,725-square-foot dwelling and is a bit tight, but homey. Until recently, Molesworth lived in it, allowing a needy family to live upstairs in the more conventional part of the home.

The bunker is stocked with reading material, such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s 1987 “Nuclear War Survival Skills,” as well as movies, music and board games.

“You don’t want to sit in here going nuts with nothing to do,” Molesworth said.

He has new clothes too.

“If we have an argument with China, they’re not going to send socks and underwear to us,” Molesworth said.

Molesworth can use electricity from the power company or switch a couple of plugs to use his own propane-powered generator. He keeps 3 1/2 years’ worth of propane, food and supplies.

While the Bible warns of seven years of tribulation, only half that time will require self-sufficiency, he explained.

“The Bible says in the last 3 1/2 years, you won’t be able to buy or sell anything.”

Molesworth is a tall, large man, hence the nickname Big Mike. He grew up in Maryland, the son in a Catholic military family. He’s been married twice, has no children and has held many jobs, including one as a computer technician.

He also served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1965. He retired as a Teamster in Las Vegas.

He’s a jocular guy and doesn’t proselytize. He heard about Idaho in Vegas from other truckers chatting on the citizens band radio about “like-minded-thinking people, people that believe in Bible prophecy and all that.”

He stayed out of the Christian covenant communities, saying he has friends there but isn’t interested in the politics. And “like-minded” doesn’t always mean pleasant.

“Don’t get me wrong, you do get some nuts up here,” Molesworth said.

So why sell the home he has sunk so much time into? After some prodding, Molesworth admitted that he got cross-wise with the Internal Revenue Service a few years back and ended up with a felony. Now he can’t legally have a firearm, and that doesn’t sit well.

“I’m leaving the country,” he said.

He won’t say where he’s headed, only that his intended destination is a country with a good exchange rate, little crime and friendly, Christian people.

His disability checks, for a back injury, and other Social Security income will let him live well.

Another reason he’s leaving: His elderly mother, who used to live with him, has recently taken ill, and he needs $5,000 a month to pay for her nursing home. Now, he’s alone in the bunker. He wants to start living again.

“I’ve just been sitting here waiting to die, waiting for the bomb to hit,” Molesworth said.

“I’m going to go start doing something.”

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