Sun Cliff at Red Rock Ranch
A Promise Kept
Tom and Kate Joy are the proprietors of Sun Cliff at Red Rock Ranch. Kate is the third generation owner of Red Rock Ranch and the great niece of Sally Hallermund who ranched in Sedona from 1938 to 1979. Sally Hallermund passed away in 1980, leaving her ranch to her niece Sally Anne. Sally Anne passed the ranch on to her niece, Kate, with the promise that the Joy family would do whatever they could to keep the property in the family for the next generation. Generational land is often hard to keep due to taxes and the increase of land values. Families usually choose to sell generational land because it makes more financial sense. Tom and Kate chose to come out of retirement with a vision to share a bit of Red Rock Ranch with others and to create a business that would enable them to honor Sally Anne’s wish.
The land that is left at Red Rock Ranch is not cattle land, so ranching was out of the question. Instead, Tom and Kate chose to take Sally Anne’s beloved “Indian House” that sits on a bluff overlooking Oak Creek and create a luxury resort for two. An intimate and serene escape for those seeking privacy but still desiring the luxury service and amenities that the Joys can provide. The views are without question the best Sedona has to offer.
The Lindblom Family
Kate’s maternal grandmother, Elvira Augusta Lindblom, was the eldest of seven children.
Vera, as she was known to her family, was close with all of her siblings. With the exception of Vera’s two sister Elsie and Sally, the other siblings all lived in California. What follows is the story of how Elsie and Sally ended up in Northern Arizona.
Elsie and Sally
Kate’s great aunt Elsie Evangeline (Eve) Lindblom, a California girl, traveled to Flagstaff to attend Arizona’s Teachers College, now Northern Arizona University. She earned her degree and teaching credential and at some point Eve met and married Richard (Dick) Riordan of the pioneer Riordan Family of Flagstaff.
Eve and Dick Riordan, young newlyweds, became acquainted with a cowboy from Denmark. Otto Von Platen Hallermund, a Danish count, who traveled to America with his brother after World War I to seek a better life in America. Otto eventually made his way to Arizona and worked as a cowboy. Ranching came naturally to Otto, as his family owned a large dairy in Aalborg, Denmark. Otto was very handsome and single. Working as a ranch manager for one of the largest cattle companies in Prescott he was pleased when Elsie suggested he meet her two sisters, Sally and Lydia. Otto responded in a long letter to Elsie and Dick, referring to himself as a plain, lonely cowboy, who would love to meet the two sisters.
Sally and Lydia had plans to travel to Arizona to visit Elsie and Dick Riordan. Elsie, quite the matchmaker, told the sisters about this handsome and eligible cowboy in Prescott. The girls changed their plans and travelled to Prescott, where they stayed in a hotel together. Otto sent Elsie a letter instructing the girls to send a messenger out when they had arrived in town.
The meeting was quite successful for Sally Lindblom. Otto and Sally were married in Kingman Arizona on June 5, 1937. Lydia Lindblom never married although she made many trips to visit her sisters in Arizona.
In 1938, Otto and Sally decided it was time to begin a ranch of their own and they purchased some land from Sedona pioneer Henry Schuerman and his wife Doretta. Otto Hallermund obtained federal grazing permits and also bought land in Sedona, Flagstaff, and Big Park. Sally due to her age and health problems was unable to have children. Their lives were devoted to ranching, enjoying friends and having their niece Sally Anne visit during the summers.
Eve and Dick moved to Los Angeles, where Dick was a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Sergeant. They lived in Los Angeles until the war broke out and Dick became a pilot in the Air Force. Eve
returned to Sedona and began teaching, changing her name to Elsie. Kate only knew her grandmother’s sister as Elsie and was surprised to learn she used Eve for a part of her life.
Elsie loved the movies, and Kate surmises that as a young woman in college, the name Eve was a bit more glamorous than Elsie. Elsie and Richard did not have any living children. (genealogy speaks of a child being born and not surviving, there is no further information).
Two sisters on their own in 1950’s Sedona
In the 1950’s, people didn’t talk about family matters. If someone divorced, it was dealt with quietly, you didn’t make personal affairs public knowledge. Sadly, both couples divorced. Kate has been looking for county records to determine the dates but has been unsuccessful. However, through her work at the Sedona Historical Society, Kate learned that handsome and charming Otto had a wandering eye and that most likely got him into a bit of a jam. Otto eventually remarried and continued to ranch. With a bit of research and a lot of luck, Kate was able to find Otto’s nephew still living in Denmark. Christian Hallermund, in his 80’s, was thrilled to learn of his nephew’s American cowboy adventures. Christian and Kate have become pen pals.
Sally Hallermund never married again. She kept Red Rock Ranch after her divorce, along with half of the property holdings and grazing permits. Sally continued ranching with hired help. Kate and Tom are amazed that Sally didn’t give up. A single woman, in the 1950’s, in a very rural part of Arizona (remember Sedona was a one horse town back then) was able to successfully ranch on her own. Of course, she had hired ranch hands and the help of her sister Elsie and her niece Sally Anne. Sally Hallermund’s last cattle sale was in 1979 and she died early the following year at the age of 81. She died with over 240 acres to her name. An accomplishment to be admired.
Many of the ranch hands, worked for a living so they could practice their true love, painting and sculpting. Cowboys artists Charlie Dye and Joe Beeler are among some of the artist ranch hands who helped Sally. George Phippen, Charlie Dye, Joe Beeler and several other cowboy artists started the Cowboys Artists of America. Elsie, always the art collector, did her part by buying their paintings and sculptures.
Elsie Riordan continued to teach elementary school in Sedona for the rest of her career. Kate met several locals in Sedona who remember Elsie as their third and fourth-grade teacher. Elsie loved the Native American culture, studied it extensively, and was an avid collector of art, pottery and jewelry. We are fortunate, most of Elsie’s adored art collection is still with the ranch. Pieces of the collection are often loaned to the Phippen Museum in Prescott.
Little Sally Anne grew up and worked for one year as a school teacher. She told Kate that the principal let her go because she wasn’t strict enough and her students were having too much fun. Sally Anne spent the rest of her life exploring the arts, music, helping the aunts in Sedona and her mother in California.
In the late 60’s, Sally gave her niece a piece of land to build her own home. Sally Anne, who fancied herself quite adept as an architect, created plans for Sun Cliff. The building began in 1970. She called her little one-bedroom house on the red rock bluff her “Indian House.
Sally Anne enjoyed spending time at the “Indian House” over the years.
Sally Anne never married. After her mother passed, she had to decide to remain in California or keep Red Rock Ranch. Her time spent with the aunts in Sedona were some of her fondest memories so she decided to move to Sedona in 1998 . Sally Anne lived out the rest of her life in a place that held loving memories for her. Sally Anne passed away in 2011, leaving behind an amazingly rich history and a promise from the Joy Family to love, cherish and value this special piece of God’s country.