Ancient Monument Gets the Yankee Touch
England has one Stonehenge. America has two dozen, a number that seems to increase with each passing solstice. These iconic rock piles are all a long way from the Salisbury Plain, often in out-of-the-way places such as Alliance, Nebraska, and Munfordville, Kentucky, but the megalith earwig cannot be resisted. Some of these Stonehenges are true to the original, some come with embellishments far beyond the imagination of even the spaciest ancient Druid. It's an obsession as mysterious and primal as the original circle of slabs.
We, too, are obsessed. We've cataloged hundreds of Old World landmarks rebuilt to American standards. But Stonehenge is special -- and very popular. The prehistoric megaliths emit an energy field powerful enough to enslave sculptors, builders, and the odd guy with too much time on his hands.
Important American Stonehenges
Subdivision Stonehenge, Athens, Georgia - At one time it marked the entrance to hard-times subdivision named "Stonehenge." Too valuable to sacrifice, it was moved in the late 1990s to a safer spot on the outskirts of the city.
The Georgia Guidestones, Nuberg, Georgia - Four granite monoliths, nineteen feet tall with inscriptions carved in eight different languages (including Swahili and Sanskrit). Bankrolled by the mysterious "R. C. Christian."
Truckhenge, Topeka, Kansas - It looks more like Cadillac Ranch than Stonehenge, but creator Ron Lessman insists that it's a 'henge, and we've learned never to question the perceptions of a visionary with power tools.
Kentucky Stonehenge, Munfordville, Kentucky - Labeled as such on its very own heel stone. Builder Chester Fryer used local rocks, then had enough extra energy to build a Garden of Gethsemane and other rock sculptures.
Front Yard Stonehenge, Nunica, Michigan - Slightly downscaled but well-made, built by a married couple from blocks of styrofoam in their yard. A surefire property-value improvement for any home.
Stubby Stonehenge, Rolla, Missouri - A half-size Stonehenge at the former University of Missouri at Rolla, built to showcase the stone carving capabilities of its High Pressure Water Jet Lab.
Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska - A family reunion in 1987 produced what has become America's best-known quirky Stonehenge -- Carhenge, built in a dusty field under the supervision of farmer Jim Reinders, who meant it as a memorial to his dad.
America's Stonehenge, North Salem, New Hampshire - Looks the least like a Stonehenge, but it may have the most supernatural powers. The attraction's name evokes the mystical and unknown origins of rock configurations and chambers on a wooded hill.
Stonehenge II, Ingram, Texas - Two years after Carhenge went up, the Stonehenge bug flew south to Texas and bit eccentric, retired oilman Al Shepperd. Al died in 1994, and his Stonehenge was moved in 2010 from its original spot in Kerrville to its current location.
Permian Basin Stonehenge, Odessa, Texas - Nearly full size, built in only six weeks in 2004 at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, as a campus entrance landmark.
Foamhenge, Natural Bridge, Virginia - The award for fastest Stonehenge ever erected has to go to Mark Cline, who set up most of Foamhenge in a single day. It's a lot easier to carve styrofoam than rock.
Sam Hill's Stonehenge, Maryhill, Washington - Built by a wealthy railroad executive, on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River. Made of concrete and complete -- no tipsy, worn-down rocks like the original.
Stonehenges Still Springing Up
The list goes on. There are even more Stonehenges scattered across the American landscape:
Tin Man Stonehenge, a.k.a. Rancho Shazam, in Larkspur, California, with its green foam megaliths;
BoatHenge in Easley, Missouri;
The Hilltop Stonehenge of Patton, Missouri;
The Vandal-Ravaged Woodhenge of Smithville, Missouri;
Columcille Megalith Park and Celtic Art Center in Bangor, Pennsylvania;
A solar calendar of limestone monoliths, known locally as Stonehenge Jr., stands in Wichita, Kansas;
Stonefridge, a great concept -- old refrigerators stacked in the familiar 'henge configuration -- was built by artist Adam Horowitz in a landfill in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The city, however, didn't appreciate Stonefridge and destroyed it in 2007, a rare example of an unloved Stonehenge.
There's also been a recent trend for private, out-of-sight Stonehenges built for the superrich. Mark Cline, creator of Foamhenge, was hired in 2012 to build a personal Stonehenge for an anonymous billionaire in Mississippi (In December of 2012, Cline also completed a visible-to-the-public "Bamahenge" in Elberta, Alabama).
We know of another on a private estate in the elite enclave of Sachem Head, Connecticut, and another -- claimed to be the most accurate Stonehenge replica ever made -- built for a wealthy individual at the remote Crystal Lakes Resort in Fortine, Montana.
Yet we still hear of lone artisans doing it the right way, in full view of a public street or highway, their hammers tapping and blowtorches roaring sweet music to the old gods.
When you think about it, a Stonehenge is within reach of anyone with a flat acre of land, a supply of large, blocky things, and an amenable (or nonexistent) local zoning board. So what's stopping you? You know you want one -- a hulking symbol of mystic power protecting the birdbath and barbecue.
Just let us know when you're finished and well add you to the list.