Carhenge is a modern interpretation of Stone Henge made by Jim Reinders. It must have been a long coldwinter in 1986-87 to design and erect a not so exact replica of Stonehenge in western Nebraska. I can’t come up with a better reason (other than a long cold winter) to stack cars up like Stonehenge in Alliance Nebraska. So now it stands with precise alignment to the solar solstice just like the real Stonehenge.
Scaled to size
Thirty-eight cars comprise the circle at Carhenge. The circle is scaled to approximate the Stonehenge circle. It is built to scale so that each individual car would represent one of the huge stone blocks at Stonehenge. Part of the scaling of the monument was to reduce the size of the circle.
Jim Reinders was familiar with Stonehenge. He studied the structure and shape to correctly align the cars in a fashion that would replicate the alignment of the circle with the summer solstice.
Rumor has it that there are three other cars buried at Carhenge deep enough that nothing is visible. These cars were made in other countries and didn’t mix well with the cars, mostly built in Michigan. Perhaps a few thousand years from now they may be uncovered and will puzzle the archeologists who find them just like Stonehenge puzzles us now.
Plenty of paint
In all the cars the glass has been replaced with steel to prevent breakage. Another thing that is obvious is that all the cars have been coated with thick layers of grey paint to preserve them.
Each Summer, Alliance Nebraska has hundreds of visitors all to see the sunset at the summer solstice. The town originally wanted the assembly torn down but has warmed to the display. Now they seem to rather like the notoriety that Carhenge brings to the town. The Nebraska Department of Highways wanted Carhenge to be declared a junkyard. Now Carhenge is owned and operated by the city. In a sense the Nebraska Department of Highways had it right, most of these cars came from a junkyard and most are missing several key parts.
2017 Solar Eclipse
More than 4000 people descended on Alliance Nebraska to view the 2017 total eclipse. What better place to view the eclipse than a location dedicated to the movement of the sun? As luck would have it the 2017 path of the eclipse aligned the sun and moon directly across Alliance. Jim Reinders was happily surprised that Carhenge was in the path of total eclipse. To view the 2024 solar eclipse a location further south will be better.
In addition to Carhenge, other car parts have been assembled at the site which has added to the attraction. A few years back a building was added to the site that during the summer serves as a visitor center.
Jeske Over The Hill Campground is located just to the north of Carhenge. We drove through the campground with our RV. I didn’t think that we could have achieved leveling our RV so we didn’t stay.
This campground would have allowed us to stay at Carhenge for sunset. Since it was April and not at the summer solstice I don’t think it would have mattered. Still, we were there on a cold blue day and perhaps the sunset would have been nice. Cold, windy, and nice.
New every time
Every time I look at these pictures I see a different car that I hadn’t seen before or perhaps just didn’t recognize. So I numbered the pictures to help you make a comment. Some are really easy and some much harder. Also, comment if you may have owned or driven any of these cars. I don’t know the answers to most of them but will start with the first comment so everyone can get the gist.
Since I don’t know which are which, I don’t know all the answers. Your guess is as good (or better than mine). You get to name that car (and the year it was built )so the rest of us will know. The ones where you can only see the bottom are going to be especially hard to identify.
Most of these cars are from the mid-1960s but some are from the 70s and a few prior to 1960. Another thing I think that I identified is that many of the cars were luxury models.
One of our favorite places to stay in western Nebraska is Fort Robinson. Here is a story about our stay. Western Nebraska
If you are reading this as a chronology of our travels, we visited Carhenge after we visited South Dakota. Here is a link to that story. January in April