Hole in the Rock

Aug 2006

About 12 miles south of Moab, Utah on Highway 191 you will find the home of Albert and Gladys Christensen.  Their home is 5000 square feet and has 14 rooms.  The only thing unusual about it is that it is carved out of a sandstone bluff.  Albert spent 12 years drilling and blasting before the couple could move in in 1952.  Albert died in 1957 and Gladys lived on in their home for 17 years until she died.  Both are buried in a small tomb carved out of the sandstone next to their home.



The small white building is a gift shop.  To the right of the gift shop you can see the entrance to the home.  Further to the right you can see their tomb. 








It is not clear whether or not this was actually used but it is interesting.  It is the only two-story outhouse I have ever seen.  




This is the entryway.  The ceilings are about ten feet high and all areas are well lighted so there is no feeling of being closed in.  The walls are natural stone with only the kitchen being painted.  Painted walls in the kitchen may have been because it was used as a diner for several years.  Albert cheated a little on the floors.  He chiseled them as smooth as he could and then poured a thin layer of concrete.





The fireplace was more than adequate to provide heat for the entire house in winter.  Several feet of rock provides an unbelievable amount of insulation.  The chimney is over 70 feet long and exhausts from a rock shelf well above the entrance.




The kitchen is fairly large; about 12 X 15 feet.  Not shown in the picture is a large deep-fat fryer that is carved out of the rock of one wall.  This was probably installed for use by the diner.






This is Mrs. Christiansen's bedroom.  She lived in this home until she died in 1974, running both the diner and the gift shop.





This was another bedroom.  There was no mention of any children so I don't know who, if anyone, slept here.






The Hole in the Rock is fascinating for a number of reasons.  The first thing you see is the innate beauty of the rooms and the thoughtful way they are laid out.  Being an engineer, the next thing that occurred to me was the great skill required to carve out this house from solid stone.  The amount of hard work required and the dedication for one man to do this for 12 years is amazing.  More than 50,000 cubic feet of rock was drilled and blasted out of the mountain to complete his home.