Prehistoric stone builders, eat your heart out. (Photo: Samir Luthor on Flickr)
Stonehenge is one of the most iconic wonders of the world (although it is not one of the official seven wonders), so it’s no surprise that it has its imitators. In fact the United States have at least five replicas of the famous standing stones. Made of junky old cars, giant foam bricks, or even just stone, these off-brand attractions attempt to bring a bit of that old druidic mystery to American soil, with varied levels of success.
1. STONEHENGE II
Fraud-henge. (Photo: Joshua Bousel on Flickr)
The sequel to Stonehenge in Ingram, Texas (a state which has another version of Stonehenge elsewhere), was built by farmer Al Sheppard. The attraction is a 60-percent scale replica of the English monument, although it is notably lighter. The majority of the “stones” in the ring are actually made of plaster covering a wire mesh frame making them a great deal lighter the actual stones. However there are two very real stone plinths in the center of the formation that are likely about as permanent as the originals. As a bonus bit of monumental fakery, a pair of Moai heads, like the famous ones on Easter Island, were also created on the site.
I’m pretty sure this is an art installation and not druid magic. Pretty sure. (Photo: Andrew Nourse on Flickr)
And an Easter Island head too. Sure. (Photo: Jeremy Sternberg on Flickr)
“Stone Talk on NPR” sounds like a pretty great show. (Photo: Chris M. Morris on Flickr)
In a truly American move, Nebraska’s Carhenge has replaced the ancient British stones of the original Stonehenge with standing domestic automobiles. The replica consists of 38 automobiles that are arranged just like Stonehenge, with some of the cars half-buried in the earth, and others balanced on top of them. While most of the stand-in-stones are cars, there are also trucks and ambulances in the formation. Lest anyone be confused about what the formation is supposed to represent, each of old autos has been painted a slate gray to imitate the color of the original stones. Smooth move.
Ominous skies over a mechanical henge. (Photo: Ken Lund on Flickr)
I believe that color is “druid-stone” gray. (Photo: Ken Lund on Flickr)
3. MARYHILL MUSEUM AND STONEHENGE
Ah, the golden age of Stonehenge… ing. (Photo: Joe Goldberg on Flickr)
This austere version of the famed standing stones was built by Utopian Quaker, Sam Hill, of “What in Sam Hill?” fame. The henge sits on a hilltop (no pun intended) set right over Hill’s very own grave. Unlike many replicas of the ancient site, this collection of modern plinths looks as though it was built yesterday with the straight columns supporting perfectly-squared blocks up top. The effect of the perfect formation is almost as though this is the version of Stonehenge the original builders would have liked, had they had the technology to create it. It is the rare replica that may actually be an improvement on the original.
A good, clean henge. (Photo: Dave O on Flickr)
Sun over stones. (Photo: Joe Goldberg on Flickr)
4. STONEHENGE REPLICA
Texas red stone henge. (Photo: joevare on Flickr)
Unlike the perfect henge above, the second Texas Stonehenge on this list revels in the fact that it was much easier to build. Located on the grounds of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, this remake of the English original was built as a tourist attraction in 2004. The 20-some stone blocks were hauled into place by tractors, and the entire monumental display was finished in just six weeks. The site mirrors the rough layout of the stones, both standing and fallen, in the original but is made of reddish-orange limestone giving it a distinctly “Texas desert” feel. Nonetheless, the standing arches and laid out stones are unmistakable as a tribute to the mossy, gray blocks of the original.
Anyone know a good henge-scaper? (Photo: Rev314159 on Flickr)
Seriously, can someone water this lawn? (Photo: Alkula’s on Flickr)
Natural Bridge, Virginia
Could’ve fooled me! (Photo: steve freeman on Flickr)
Finally, there is Foamhenge. Probably the most ephemeral replica on this list, the formation is made out of giant blocks of crumbling styrofoam, put together by Fiberglass sculptor Mark Cline. After seeing the monolithic foam blocks in a warehouse the sculptor dreamt up the name “Foamhenge” and the rest is history. Despite being made of foam, the henge is remarkably sturdy and moreover, the chipping gray paint gives the pocked material a convincing look of actual stone. In line with the more whimsical nature of this American Stonehenge, the site is also home to a druidic wizard statue that seems a bit silly, but also perfectly at home.
The scaffolding really sells the “weight.” (Photo: Aka Hige on Flickr)
Again with the landscaping. (Photo: Aka Hige on Flickr)