Historic Homes: Arizona Boulder Home Is For Sale At $4.2 Million

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Arizona boulder home includes ancient rock carvings and Stonehenge-type phenomenon

One of America's most unusual and historic homes, the Boulder House in Arizona, is for sale and featured this week at TopTenRealEstateDeals.com.

“America's Most Original Home”

Sunnie and Bill Empie had moved to the Puget Sound area of Washington from their native Arizona in the 1960s, but found after being accustomed to bright light and arid climate, they couldn’t cope with rain, drizzle, fog and cloudiness for the majority of the year. They craved the sunshine and dry heat of their home state. As great nature lovers, they were intrigued by an ad they found for land in the high Sonoran Desert near Scottsdale that read, “Does anyone want to buy my pile of rocks?” Little did they know at the time that the pile of rocks would end up on the National Historic Register. It has been called “the most original home in America.”

The Empies purchased the land in 1974 with the idea of building their house beside the rocks, but when they commissioned architect Charles Johnson, he had other ideas. He wanted to design a home inside the outcropping of massive granite boulders, using the boulders themselves for walls. The Empies agreed and, after several years of construction, moved to their Arizona rock home in 1980. The boulders make up about 60 percent of the home while stucco was used for much of the rest of the home. Custom designed windows are molded into the cracks and crevices between boulders. According to experts, the rocks are about 1.6 billion years old from the Precambrian era, about the same time that hard-shelled life forms first showed up. Long before the Flintstones arrived on Earth.

During the construction, the couple found evidence that they weren’t the first humans to live in the boulders. Pottery shards and rock carvings they discovered were dated back as far as one thousand years. A Stonehenge-type phenomenon that occurs on both the spring and fall equinoxes is a six inch wide beam of light originating through the glass between two boulders that slowly works its way across the floor and up the wall to a 36” spiral petroglyph, which, when the sun hit its mark, lights up the stone projections like diamonds.

A dream home for archaeologists, historians, artists or for those who love living close to nature, the Boulder House is now for sale at $4.2 million. Located on nine acres next to the Phil Mickelson designed Whisper Rock Golf Course, the home includes 4,380 square feet, three bedrooms, two and a half baths, a great room with massive fireplace, Douglas fir-beam ceilings, guest quarters with separate entrance, library with built-in bookcases, kitchen with high-end appliances, and polished concrete floors tinted to blend with the natural stone color. The exterior has multiple terraces on different levels and large areas both inside and out for entertaining on a large scale. The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation currently owns the property. The listing agents are Preston and Nancy Westmoreland of Sotheby's International Realty in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Terry Walsh
Top Ten Real Estate Deals
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