A pilgrimage to Nebraska’s Carhenge
In Alliance, vintage cars replace the ancient stones in a piece-by-piece replica of the Salisbury Plain landmark, Stonehenge. (James Land Company)
With the winter solstice fast approaching, many New Age enthusiasts will visit England’s ancient site of Stonehenge, the axis of which perfectly aligns with the setting solstice sun. But only visitors with a pre-approved tour slot will actually get anywhere near the stones that day.
Crowds will be less of a problem at Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska, where vintage cars replace the ancient stones in a piece-by-piece replica of the Salisbury Plain landmark.
The western Nebraska monument was constructed in 1987 by Jim Reinders, who studied Stonehenge while living in England. With the help of family members, he constructed the 38-car homage as a memorial to his late father, who grew up on the Nebraska farmland where Carhenge now stands. The 1950s and ‘60s vintage cars (including a 1962 Cadillac as the heel stone) were spray-painted grey, welded together to form the famous arches and placed in their proper positions. Over the years, other artists donated their car creations (ranging from a spawning salmon to a covered wagon), all of which are now displayed in the nearby Car Art Reserve, located on the same piece of farmland.
The local organization Friends of Carhenge has managed the location for more than 20 years, installing a visitor centre in 2006 among other improvements. But the monument and the surrounding land are now listed for sale at $300,000 in hopes that a buyer will be able to invest more money in visitor amenities for the 80,000 tourists who make the pilgrimage each year.