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Quirky, weird and wonderful ...Carhenge

 
Quirky, weird and  wonderful  ...Carhenge

Video to come

For almost two years now, “Everyday Journeys” has taken you to places within a day’s drive of La Vernia, including historical sites, forests and state parks, museums, and fun places to visit. This is about a place just a little bit farther away. We recently traveled to Western Nebraska and found some unique places that we want to share with you.

Everyone has heard of Stonehenge that mystical and, some say, magical place near Salisbury, England. It is one of the most recognizable sites in the world. Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones thought to be a temple made for the worship of ancient deities, or an astronomical observatory for marking significant events on the prehistoric calendar, or perhaps a sacred burial site. No one knows for sure. But, have you ever heard of Carhenge?

Located just 4 miles north of Alliance, Neb., Carhenge was formed from 38 vintage American automobiles, painted gray to replicate Stonehenge. It was the brainchild of Jim Reinders.

When Jim’s father passed away in 1982, he wanted to do something special in his memory. As a geologist, he had studied the structure, design, and purpose of Stonehenge while living in the south of England years ago. He got the family together and concocted this memorial as a tribute to his father. It took five years from conception to completion; during the 1987 summer solstice, Carhenge was dedicated and opened to the public.

Ten years later, Reinders donated Carhenge and the 10 acres around it to the Friends of Carhenge, a nonprofit group formed to continue the operation of this unique tourist attraction. On Oct. 1, 2013, Friends of Carhenge gifted the site to the citizens of Alliance. No admission has ever been charged and visitors are encouraged to walk up and touch it (unlike Stonehenge, where only a chosen few can get up close and personal).

An estimated 80,000 tourists visit this attraction each year, many on their way to South Dakota’s Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, but many come from as far away as Canada, England, Germany, France, and Italy, as evidenced by the Log Book that visitors are encouraged to sign. In the June 2014 edition of USA Today, Carhenge was named as one of the Top Three Quirky Landmarks in America.

Over the years, additional sculptures have been erected at this site, which is now officially known as the Car Art Reserve. One of the first art additions was a sculpture of a spawning salmon created by 29-year-old Canadian Geoff Sandhurst, who won a $2,500 prize and the permanent placement of his creation at the Reserve.

For those who might be connoisseurs of lunar and solar events, mark your calendars. On Aug. 21, 2017, Carhenge will be in the direct path of the total solar eclipse at 10:49 a.m. Mountain Time.

The next stop on our adventure was the “Cowboy Capital” of Nebraska Ogallala. Many Texans will remember this name; it was the end of the trail for many cattle drives from this area. It is estimated that more than 1 million cattle came up the Texas Trail between 1870 and 1885. Sitting atop Boot Hill, right in the heart of Ogallala, is a magnificent bronze statute, “The Trail Boss.” The cowboy, sitting on his horse, appears to be looking back toward Texas.

Harry and Linda Kaye Perez are freelance writers from just down the road from Floresville. Together they share a passion for traveling and writing, and discovering the very best in all corners of the world. Email them at Harry-Linda411@att.net.

 
 
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