From the perspective of a motorist driving up Interstate 40, it might look like some sort of odd, geodesic moon, its glitter-speckled surface slowly climbing above the horizon. Upon closer inspection, though, one would find that this moon has its own moons — smaller orbs on smaller sticks, which honestly look more like enormous tetherballs than satellites.
Most people say the sphere looks like a giant golf ball, but I personally think it looks more like a proto Death Star. Come to think of it, it would make a terrific centerpiece for a really great, though remote, space-themed miniature golf course. The place even has the motif already set up, with flying saucers and everything.
The structure has been balancing on this spot since the 1970s. It originated as part of a shady real-estate venture gone sour when less-than-scrupulous developers bought up some desert acreage and, hoping to conjure images of riparian living in the minds of potential investors, named the location Lake Havasu Estates.
They even went so far as to send out ads featuring pictures of lakeside residents happily water skiing. The fact that Lake Havasu is almost 40 miles away was a detail they apparently just didn't consider worth mentioning.
The plots they were selling didn't even have utilities, let alone a shoreline. In reality, it was, and still is, nothing but dry scrubland. What's more, as it was later discovered, the developers hadn't even obtained building permits for the project.
Not surprisingly, the development went bankrupt by 1972. Federal officials called the scheme the worst land swindle in history.
The only thing to come of the whole ordeal was the 40-foot-wide globe, then known as the Dinesphere. It was intended to be a restaurant and nightclub for future residents, but once Lake Havasu Estates went bust, the place was abandoned. And there it stood for the next decade, as useless as a dented ping-pong ball.
In 1981, a Wyoming resident named Hank Schimmel bought it for his wife Ardell as a birthday present. The couple then spent several winters making the diminutive Death Star fully operational.
They installed all the household essentials and split the building into three levels to create 3,400 square feet of living space: the kitchen on the bottom, the living room in the middle and the bedrooms, with the best view, at the top. And each floor was equipped with its own bathroom so nobody had to climb the stairs.
As for the numerous spacecraft parked outside, those were surprisingly not part of the Dinesphere's original theme. Hank added those. There are, however, one less than there used to be. According to sources, there was once a flying saucer 30 feet in diameter hovering next to the sphere, but it started causing traffic problems on the highway and had to be removed. Apparently, by itself, the huge, tessellated bubble somehow falls within an acceptable level of inconspicuity.