Brent and his model of Soaphenge.

Soap Lake: Future Home Of Soaphenge?

Soap Lake, Washington: For years we've been following the frustrations of Brent Blake, devoted citizen of the small town of Soap Lake in central Washington, and his thus-far futile attempt to get his town to erect the World's Largest Lava Lamp. It was announced last fall that the Lamp would be erected this spring, but Brent now concedes that the project has once again slid into an open-ended future.

"It's been frustrating," Brent told us. "There's been so much publicity -- worldwide publicity -- about this that if we don't get it up soon, we'll lose the momentum." Brent pegs the problem on a lack of money, not desire. "I think it's been a frustration for everyone," he said -- for city officials as well as himself. "Everyone always asks, 'How's it going? When's it gonna happen?' And I don't have a real solution."

Brent, however, is not a man to be frustrated into inactivity. He has devised a backup plan should the Lava Lamp remain in limbo much longer.

"It's a Stonehenge, built just like Stonehenge, but with giant bars of soap," he told us. The word "soap" in big letters would be pressed into the side of every eight-foot-tall bar, but they wouldn't really be soap. "If it was made of real soap, it wouldn't last very long," Brent explained.

Brent describes a scale version of Soaphenge that he's built as a model. "I made it imperfect with broken bars to make it look old. It would look like it had been here for a couple of thousand years."

"I've seen replicas of Stonehenge built perfectly, and they look awful," he tells us, referring to Sam Hill's Stonehenge at Maryhill, Washington, which is a three-hour drive from here. "I don't even bother to stop to see Maryhill. It doesn't even represent what Stonehenge looked like when it was new."

Brent says that he hope to have the giant bars made as replicas of Lava-brand soap "because it ties in with the lava flows that are a part of this region, and with the Lava Lamp." He's been in touch with the company about a possible corporate sponsorship, but admits that, thus far, "I'm not having great success."

We gave Brent the phone number of Mark Cline, creator of Foamhenge, as someone who could actually help him to build this project. It seemed to cheer him. Brent told us of other ideas that he's had to promote his town and to "put big smiles on people's faces," such as a soap on a rope over a reflective pool, with giant bars of soap floating in it. "You live in a place called Soap Lake," he said, "and you obviously have a lot to work with."


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