The era of Cold War spies with clandestine missions, dead drops, and safe houses is fading into the distance, relegated to books and movies. For a quick primer, we recommend watching "The Americans" on FX, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. If you yearn for your own piece of the cloak-and-dagger world, this house 35 miles north of Dallas should capture your attention.
Local lore has it that the home, now listed for $1.25 million, was built in the 1980s by an Israeli spy who wanted to be sure he and his family would be safe while he was doing whatever Israeli spies did in Texas in those days. Something to do with black gold, perhaps?
The house, which can't be seen from the road, has two secret rooms reached through closets and cabinets, a safe room with its own air-purifying system, hidden passages and exits, and lead-lined shooting perches behind walls that face its entrances, says listing agent Jorja Clark. The basement has a shooting range and a hand-to-hand training area.
Of course, with 8,551 square feet, seven bedrooms, and five full bathrooms, the house also has all the amenities and updates today's buyers want, even if they don't practice espionage. The updated kitchen, for example, has a massive Viking refrigerator and companion freezer. The current owners enjoyed entertaining in the house, given that "it's very gracious," says Clark.
It's also a perfect locale for someone looking for a multigenerational living arrangement. The basement features a two-bedroom apartment, Clark explains, and there's another one-bedroom apartment accessible through the garage.
The original owner, he of spy legend, was also reportedly an Anglophile, which is why he built the home in the Tudor style and decorated it with touches of the British Isles, such as street lamps from London along the driveway and a pub sign from what was supposedly Winston Churchill's favorite pub, Clark says.
The home sits on 4.68 acres, which back up to undeveloped U.S. government land that in turn reaches to Lake Texoma, on the Texas-Oklahoma border. The area is a popular recreational getaway for families from Dallas and Oklahoma City, notes Clark, who also speculates that the original owner may have seen the lake as a convenient escape route if enemy agents ever found him.
For a buyer who wants a touch of ye olde England mixed with a little " Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy"-level intrigue, this might be the perfect hideaway.