Hole N' The Rock
Albert Christensen's home is in a neighborhood of its own -- the knobby, treeless void of southeastern Utah. Not content to be just another guy with a drill and a dream, he hand-carved his luxurious suite of rooms out of a natural cliff face in the 1940s. He called it Hole N' The Rock. It lies on US Highway 191, south of the natural thrills hub town of Moab -- seasonably overrun by hiker hordes, rock climbers, off-roaders, and rafters.
Albert blasted and drilled for 12 years, then moved in with his wife Gladys in 1952. The couple operated a diner in the first room until 1955 (Albert's first heart attack). Albert died in 1957, but Gladys lived 17 more years, running a cafe and gift shop.
Today, the cliff is covered with huge painted white letters that scream out "Hole N' The Rock," letting passersby know there's something here that's wondrously unnatural. A Rushmore-like head of Franklin Roosevelt is carved into an alcove near the entrance.
Inside is a 5,000 square foot home with 14 rooms. Some are interesting simply because of the sheer rock-carving mania they required. A cavernous bathroom is referred to as "a toilet in a tomb."
When not chipping out more closet space, Albert dabbled in taxidermy. Some of his projects, such as two stuffed horses and a donkey (beloved pet "Harry"), are displayed, along with his religious paintings. Not without her own pursuits, Gladys's doll collection is left untouched as a memorial.
When he died, Albert was starting work on a 100' staircase that would cut up to the top of the rock, where his wife would have arranged a rock garden. Mr. and Mrs. are both buried in an alcove a short walk from the entrance.
Elsewhere in Utah, Hole-in-the-something attractions thrive, no doubt inspired by Albert's work. There's that Gas Station-In-The-Rock in Hanksville. And let's not forget the Bed and Breakfast-in-the-Rock in the Canyonlands area, with rooms originally carved by a polygamist for each wife to live in, confided a scandalized cashier at Albert's place...
Erik and Wyndee Hansen purchased the "Rock" from Gladys' son, Hub Davis, in 2000. They've added a trading post, surrounded by an array of outdoor statuary for sale, a giant cactus made of bowling balls, and a 2-story outhouse. They intend to preserve the interior as is.