P.O. Box 2293 - Carefree, AZ   85377-2293


Read the Reviews

Southwest Book Views:
         New Books from the American Southwest. Spring 2002

This book, written and photographed by the owners of a remarkable dwelling known as the Boulder House, chronicles a journey that has taken 25 years and resulted in a one-of-a-kind home. This amazing voyage began in 1974 with this simple ad: "Must sell my beautiful pile of boulders near Carefree, Arizona." This was all the catalyst Sunnie and Hart Empie of Olympia, Washington needed for Hart to return to the state where his family had settled when Arizona was only a territory.


When Sunnie and Hart first visited the 10-acre site, they both reacted emotionally to the land and the "pile of boulders," which in reality are massive formations of Precambrian granite. Some of the boulders measusre four stories high.Mesquite Tree Although the boulders were the centerpieces of the land, the Empies had not considered building there.

After seeing another ad, this one featuring New Mexican architect Charles F. Johnson's work, the Empies decided to go to Santa Fe to view several of his homes. They were drawn to Johnson's use of natural materials and his environmental sensitivity. After Johnson visited the site and talked with the Empies, he decided their home should be nestled among the huge boulders themselves. The Empies and Johnson signed a contract in 1978, and the dream was about to become reality.

As with most construction projects, the Boulder House took longer to build and the expense was greater than planned. During the building process, many adjustments were made. Since the house is nestled within the boulders (60 percent of the natural weathered granite boulders serve as the home's walls), local and natural materials were used in the construction, including adobe, pine and fir vigas; the floors are poured concrete.

A few months after the Empies moved in, a new aspect of the house was revealed when a shaft of sunlight shining through a glass-covered fissure traveled across the floor to the boulder on the far wall and, as the spring equinox approached, began to pierce the center of a 30-inch spiral petroglph on that wall. This event was only the beginning of the discoveries the Empies were to find linking the boulders to the Paleo-Indian inhabitants of the area.

On August 31, 1998, 20 years after the first petroglyph was discovered and after years of research by the Empies and professional archaeologists, the Boulder House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This book is a journal of both the amazing historical and spiritual significance of the site and the creation of a totally unique home. The 150 color photographs, taken over a span of 25 years, portray the flora and fauna of the area as well as record the building process. The text by Sunnie Empie details the journey of discovery and reveals her extensive research into the history of the site and the people who visited there. This book, not unlike the house itself, is obviously a labor of love.

Leslie Doran


BookNews Book Review
          Southwest Books of the Year 2001
Widely acclaimed Boulder House was designed around an enormous outcrop of granite. The Empie Petroglyph Site is on the National Register of Historic Places.

  •   Publishers Weekly Fall 2001 List of Illustrated Gift Books.
  •   Publishers Weekly August 13, 2001 Fall Announcement issue
  •   Publishers Weekly Spring Title List 2001
  •   Women Writing the West annual catalog 2002-2003

Lectures and Booksignings:

  •   Barnes & Noble lecture and booksigning
      2 p.m. Saturday, October 5, 2002. Desert Ridge, Phoenix

  •   Author signing, Scent of Cedars (two poems by Sunnie Empie)
      Pacific Northwest Book Fair, Seattle, Washington October 19, 2002

  •   Desert Foothills Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society lecture/booksigning
      January 8, 2003 Cave Creek 7:30 p.m.

  •   Heard Museum North, North Scottsdale March 25, 2003 6 p.m.

Minding A Sacred Place is 210 pages, 10.08" w. x 12.32 h. x .97", with 150 four-color photographs, captions, bibliography, index, and Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Boulder House Publishers, 2001. The stunning jacket is matte finish with embossed varnished image and embossed lettering. ISBN 1-931025-03-7 $60

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P.O. Box 2293 - Carefree, AZ   85377-2293