Because I have become so sick and tired of all the branches (e.g. very large sticks) in my yard from all of the storms we have been experiencing, I decided to talk about stones today. Don’t get me wrong; I love my trees and Michigan’s summer storms, especially after the dry summer we experienced last year. I am just a little tired of the spring clean-up being extended and making playing in the backyard (and having a fire) a bit more hazardous.
But, I digress. I came here to talk about stones. Sound boring? Wait. I’m about to reveal something that isn't widely known. You know of some very well-known stones, right? Come on, think about it. Not gemstones, and not Petoskey stones. I’ll give you another hint. It’s in the shape of a ring. If you are thinking of wedding bands, I’m going to be extremely disappointed in all of you. STONEHENGE is the correct answer. Well, while they sound really awesome, it’s awfully expensive to go overseas to view them and I've heard you can’t even touch them anymore due to erosion. I can tell you of some stonehenges in the United States that you probably weren't aware of before. A couple of them are in my native state of Michigan, just you still can’t touch one of them – they’re a bit hard to get to.
So, I’ll start with America’s Stonehenge. It’s located in Salem, New Hampshire and they have tours offered for a fee (you can even snowshoe and see alpacas). No visa required! It’s a fantastic touristic attraction and no one knows for sure who built it or when. It could be as old as 4,000 years old. William Goodwin was known to have done some quarrying around the area, but others are convinced there are pre-Columbian and “Old World” evidence. But there is evidence of Native American occupation at some point too. Sounds like a great place to visit and see for yourself what you think is really there and how old it really is. Circa 1907.
Then there’s Sam Hills Henge which is a replica of England’s Stonehenge located in Maryhill, Washington. This was built as a memorial dedicated to the fallen of Klickitat County in World War I. He was a bit confused about the function of the original Stonehenge, believing it was a place of human sacrifice. He’s reportedly buried at the base of the bluff it was built on overlooking the Columbia River. Circa 1931.
For my southern friends and acquaintances, you can always go visit the Georgia Guidestones. Located in Nuberg, Georgia, this replica has its origins deep in mystery. No one knows the true name of the person wanting it built. A granite company near the site was approached by a man reportedly called “R.C. Christian” who was carrying a model of the Stonehenge in a shoe box and had very specific requirements of it. The company built it and became $50,000 wealthier, but the “R.C. Christian” disappeared from existence after making the deposit. There are several messages in many languages carved on the six stones that make up this replica, one of which demanding we not become a cancer on the earth. Circa 1980.
For the fun-loving, quirky folks visiting this page, you might want to see Carhenge. Apparently, this all started with a family reunion and also became a memorial. Wish mine were so fun! (Uh, reunions, not memorials.) So, for my Midwestern folks, a visit to Alliance, Nebraska will bring you to the site of some ancient cars (or classic as the case may be) set up like the ancient stones of Great Britain. It’s a mechanic’s delight! Be sure to visit the site’s new visitor’s center and the adjacent car-art sculpture park. Circa 1987.
Then there’s Stonehenge II in Kerrville, Texas. Not actually stone, except for the single limestone piece the idea sprung from, but steel frames covered in plaster. There are some Easter Island heads at this site too. Guess it Al Shepperd thought that another Stonehenge would be better than a fake UFO crash. I would have gone with UFOs just to be different. Circa 1989.
Now, I’m asking you…FOAMHENGE? I think we are way too far away from stone to be even close to interesting now. But, if you want to see a foam replica of Stonehenge, you can see it in Natural Bridge, Virginia. Circa 2004.
And the last ridiculous one I’m going to talk about before getting serious again is Stonefridge. Ok, I’m just going to say it, the guy who built it was a bit nuts. Adam Horowitz spent nine years working on a 200+ refrigerator monument that looks like Stonehenge, but is not even remotely close to replicating it. It just looks like it – with painted refrigerators. And he decided to have it made by workers wearing loincloths and using teepee poles, ropes, pulleys, and muscle to build it. He totally set himself up for the vandals who reportedly set off bombs inside the refrigerators. Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico. Circa 1997. Thankfully removed for good in 2007.
Ok, so back to Michigan. In 2007 (how ironic is that?), researchers from Northern Michigan College were using a new sonar system to map the bottom of Lake Michigan for evidence of historical events since archaeology cannot be successfully conducted underwater. During the scans they found old cars, a ring of stones, buggies, boats, Civil-war era piers, and a stone which appears to have a mastodon carved into it. The stone carving hasn't been verified by the “experts” yet since none are trained in scuba diving, but some believe that it and the ring of stones it was a part of could date back 10,000 years. That is when humans and mastodons were believed to be in that part of Michigan (Grand Traverse Bay). These are just another set of standing stones found in the Michigan area. Beaver Island has a stone circle discovered in 1985 (again, there’s some irony in there if you’re a Back to the Future fan).
References to some of these incredible and incredulous information is in part from an NBCNEWS.com article entitled “America Unhenged: 7 great Stonehenge Replicas”, although America’s Stonehenge doesn't sound like a replica…. Oh well.