Friday, May 15, 2009


On a recent trip down to Central Oregon, I found myself driving past the town of Maryhill on the Columbia River and had to stop to visit their famous landmark.

Stonehenge sits on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River and the small town of Maryhill. It's a full-size replica of the more famous English Stonehenge, and is nearly identical.

The American version was built by Sam Hill, a local road builder, as a memorial to those who died in World War I. It was dedicated in 1918, but not completed until 1930. Sadly, Hill passed away soon after he saw this memorial completed. He was burried at the base of the bluff. But don't bother trying to look for it; Hill was a private man and wished to be left alone. There is no easy path to his resting place.

The project actually began as the result of a misunderstanding. Hill was incorrectly informed that the original Stonehenge had been used as a sacraficial site. Hills message was that "humanity is still being sacraficed to the god of war". And it was with this message in mind that he constructed this replica.

If you find yourself traveling down Highway 97 towards Oregon, don't miss visiting this amazing site. Follow the highway as it descends steeply from the town of Goldendale to the Columbia River and the town of Maryhill. The memorial is well signed and easy to find. In fact, you can't miss seeing it from the highway.

Sam Hill's Mansion, as well as the concrete American Stonehenge, are part of the Maryhill Museum of Art. This museum also includes monuments to our beloved soldiers of Klickitat County who died in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

There is no admission fee to visit the memorial; however donations are welcome and appreciated.

These funds are used for maintenance funding.

Also an attention getter is the view from the bluff down to the Columbia River and the Biggs Rapids-Sam Hill Bridge (see above). On a clear day, views extand all the way to Mt. Hood!

So do yourself a favor. Get out and see some of our state's rich cultural history. And make sure that Stonehenge is on your list of places to visit!

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