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February 26, 2011

There are roadside monuments to weirdness all over the country. Buildings shaped like critters. Giant balls of twine. Houses decorated with odd items.

Here in the Nebraska Panhandle, just a couple of miles north of Alliance, we have Carhenge – a replica of Stonhenge built with American cars. Yes, seriously.

For a history of how it got built/saved from bulldozing, see the Carhenge official site or a page from the Nebraska State Historical Society (Really? The historical society??)

You might think psssshh . . . it’s just some oddball creation, no big deal. But it attracts 80,000 people every year.

Eighty. Thousand.

That’s about six times the entire population of Box Butte County, in which Carhenge is located.

A blurb about Carhenge appeared in the New York Times in 1991. A photo of Carhenge graces the cover of a 1993 Steely Dan “best of” album. In 2001, Carhenge made a cameo in the music video for the P.O.D. song Youth of the Nation.

Carhenge was built to match Stonehenge, but apparently the astrological functionality isn’t quite the same, since Alliance, Nebraska, is a bit further south than Wiltshire, United Kingdom.

I passed Carhenge on my way elsewhere recently, so I stopped to take some pictures. If nothing else, Carhenge is a good place to stretch the legs and take some pictures.

I rather wonder how they keep the underground part of the cars from rusting and falling over.


This one made me think of the Kevin Bacon flick Tremors (see 0:48).


As you can see in the background of the “Tremors” picture, there are other car or car-part sculptures on the site besides the Carhenge monument itself.

The leaping salmon is a perennial favorite, as is the dinosaur in the background.

My favorite, for pure western kitsch value, is the stationconestogawagon:

Hee hee.

The graffiti on site is rather unfortunate. I imagine the keepers of Carhenge get it spiffed up for the summer tourist season.

If you happen to be headed north out of Alliance on Highway 87, and the weather’s nice, might as well stop at Carhenge. It’s free.

(Tip: just a bit further north of Carhenge, also on the east side of the road, is a jokester’s rest area. I won’t post a photo. I’ll let you discover it for yourself.)

Copyright 2011 by Katie Bradshaw

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 26, 2011 9:30 pm

    The most comprehensive treatment of Carhenge that I’ve ever seen–

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