Giant Rock is a large freestanding boulder in the Mojave Desert directly adjacent to Landers, California, that covers 5,800 square feet (540 m2) of ground and is seven stories high. Giant Rock was purported to be the largest free standing boulder in the world until a large piece broke off in 2000.
Native Americans of the Joshua Tree, California, area consider it to be sacred. In the 1930s Frank Critzer moved to Giant Rock. Inspired by desert tortoises that dig holes in which to cool themselves, Critzer dug out a home on the north side of the rock with the assistance of dynamite. He engineered a rainwater-collection system and a tunnel for ventilation. The underground home was reportedly never hotter than 80 degrees and never cooler than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Critzer transformed the nearby ancient lakebed into an airplane runway. By 1941 the airport averaged a plane a day. Critzer perished in a self-detonated dynamite explosion in this room on July 24, 1942, while being investigated by local police. In the 1950s it was a gathering point for UFO believers. It is located on land which was at that time leased by George Van Tassel, a friend of Critzer's, a purported flying-saucer contactee and organizer of UFO conventions. In 1947, Van Tassel, a former aircraft inspector, leased the property from the Bureau of Land Management and left Los Angeles and moved to Giant Rock with his wife and three children. Van Tassel also built the nearby Integratron and a small airport in the vicinity, which he operated from 1947 to 1975. Shortly after the turn of the 21st century, Giant Rock fractured in two, revealing an interior of white granite. The exterior surface of the rock is partially covered in graffiti.
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- Ed Ainsworth, Plans For 'Out of This World' Laboratory In Desert Disclosed (Los Angeles Times: June 17, 1954), pg.A1.
- Gumbel, Andrew (May 5, 2006). "Life on other planets: The house the Venusians built". The Independent. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
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