Stonehenge Replicas of America
It’s quite the coincidence that Roadside America has a list of America’s Stonehenges today, as I took a daytrip yesterday to the one here in Washington at Maryhill. It’s true that the ancient stone monument in Wiltshire County, England has inspired people all over, and the efforts to recreate the magic of Stonehenge are many.
As for the one I visited, it was the first of the American replicas, built to honor those Klickitat County soldiers killed in World War I. Started in 1918 by entrepreneur Sam Hill, it’s situated right on a steep cliffside overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.
Sam Hill’s Stonehenge, built to scale out of reinforced concrete, was dedicated in 1918 — the first World War I monument in America — but it wasn’t finished until twelve years later. By then, Maryhill, an experimental Quaker community, had been abandoned, and Sam Hill, who was known for his erratic bursts of manic energy, was in a deep depression. He died in 1931, living just long enough to see his Stonehenge completed. He is buried at the base of the bluff because he didn’t get along with his family, and there is no easy path to his grave because he wanted to be left alone.
My daughter and I had a pickup game of baseball in the center of the “Henge. Note the large sacrficial altar-looking slab. That’s exactly what it’s supposed to look like, because Hill incorrectly concluded that the original Stonehenge was a place of human sacrifices, and his aim was to remind us that “humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war.” The plaque reads:
In memory of the soldiers of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country. This monument is erected in the hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death can alone quench.
See more Stonehenge replicas (including one made out of cars, natch) at the link, and if you’re ever in the area, check out this one… it’s pretty neat!