ALLIANCE, Nebraska – It sits there, silent and solitary, in the middle of the Nebraskan plains. It's a couple miles from any real sign of civilization. It's not on the road to any major tourist destinations. It's not a money-making venture, and there is no admission charged to see it. There doesn't seem to be any rational reason for its existence.
And yet, there it is, all the same. It is Carhenge, one American man's tribute to England's famed Stonehenge, and it is built entirely from primer-gray junk cars.
The man behind the spectacle is Jim Reinders, who became fascinated with Stonehenge while living in England. In 1987, he decided to build a replica in his hometown of Alliance, using not the large boulders of the original but a resource that was much more plentiful in Nebraska: old abandoned automobiles.
The offbeat monument was almost ordered torn down in the 1990s. "Initially, the Department of Roads classified it as a junkyard," says Paul Phaneuf, past president of a group known as Friends of Carhenge. "Well, a junkyard has to buy and sell, and we don't buy. We fought 'em off, we won, and they're leaving us alone."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is one of the photo stories I posted back in 2007 on Nomad's Gallery, a short-lived "online travel photo journal" (aka blog)... resurrected now as part of my Shots from the Road and Weird Midwest collections. As a sign of the changing times, this eccentric attraction now has its own website, carhenge.com, as well as a gift shop and some other additions to what I saw on my original trip. -Starling
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born in a small Wisconsin blue-collar town, Mike Starling ditched the assembly line for a long, sometimes circuitous career working with words, sound and images. His original music is heard on numerous recordings and soundtracks, and his stories and photos have been featured in books, films, mags and other media. Among his other interesting career moves, he has edited a beer magazine, played bass in a reggae band and sold potato chips door-to-door. Inspired by the life-altering events of 2020, he launched a year-long web-based project called I Remember Travel in January 2021.
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I REMEMBER TRAVEL
Journeys in sight and sound by Mike Starling
All text, images and music in the I Remember Travel weblog ©Mike Starling unless otherwise noted. Music published by Bean Hoy Music (BMI). All rights reserved.