It’s a boomtime for hobbit-adjacent living options in western Wisconsin.
One month ago, in a classic Racket scoop, we asked readers if they’re browsing for a bunker abode befitting Bilbo Baggins that won’t break the bank: This cutie in River Falls, which sold above asking price almost instantly. Now, in yet another classic Racket scoop, there’s this larger, pricier, prepper-ier option located 20 miles southwest of Superior.
Built in 1982, the earth-sheltered home at 4973 S. County Rd. F in Maple boasts three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and 2,995 square feet on a 16-acre wooded lot. It hit the market Monday for $425,000.
“The only one! Be prepared to be amazed when you see this one-of-a-kind home,” raves the property listing from Tom “Action” Acton. “[It’s] so rich in character that you will just have to have it. This property uses the natural terrain to create a sheltered design for minimal heating/cooling needs and has the most beautiful curved beamed ceiling and woodwork you have ever seen.”
(Acton didn’t respond to our request to chat about his hobbity listing, so we couldn’t ask if the witch hats suspended above the dining room are included.)
Beyond the obvious hobbit appeal, the home has several features that’ll jump out to the prepper/survivalist buyer. Among them, per the listing: poured concrete construction; a four-inch thick front door; built-in master bedroom gun safe; attached greenhouse; “amazing” food-locker area; hidden “safe room” in the heated tuck-under garage; and 528-square-foot detached garage/workshop. The house’s HVAC, electric, and well are all freshly updated. Self-sufficiency aficionados of all persuasions can enjoy the sugar shack for making maple syrup, pond for private dips, and apple trees for all your apple needs. The gazebo/fire pit area? It also looks nice!
The property last changed hands in 2017 for $199,000, according to county records.
The advantages of earth-sheltered homes, as outlined in this primer from The Spruce, include energy efficiency, soundproofing, protection from the elements, and low maintenance. “A house that is surrounded (completely or partially) by earth that stays at a steady 55-60° temperature year round requires less heating in the winter and less cooling in the summer,” Williams College explains. On the downside, those types of shelters are more expensive to build and repair, plus there’s the ever-looming threat of moisture issues.
Let’s take a photo tour of 4973 S. County Rd. F, courtesy of RE/MAX Results: