Carhenge of Alliance, NE is one of those strange places that begs the question, “Why?”
It makes you wonder who, when, and why a structure of old automobiles was erected into a circle out in the middle of empty Nebraska farmland.
Was it a boy scout troop looking to earn badges? Was it aliens from outerspace tired of making crop circles? Was it a group of pagan farmers praying for rain?
No, it was artist Jim Reinders.
Reinders wanted to memorialize his father who had died in 1982. By 1987, he had gathered together 35 of his family members and erected the memorial on the land that his father once lived on. Carhenge was dedicated in June of 1987, and is a replica of the actual Stonehenge in England.
As construction was underway, officials with the nearby City of Alliance alerted Box Butte County Sheriff of the unusual activity in an attempt to halt the project. After completion, the City continued efforts to remove the sculpture, even though it was located outside of city limits. Supporters of Carhenge organized to work with city officials in an effort to end opposition.
Jim Reinders eventually sold the 10 acres of land that Carhenge sits on to its supporters, who reorganized as “Friends of Carhenge”. Today, they continue to own and operate Carhenge, and have added a gift shop, cafe and parking lot.
For Sash and I, Carhenge represented a unique endeavor of art, eccentricity, and memorialization. Both she and I each had fathers we ended up missing at a young age. To know that a family dedicated so much effort to honor their father, was touching.
If you plan to visit, try Ken and Dales Restaurant, in Alliance, on the corner of 3rd St and Box Butte.
2141 County Rd 59
Alliance, NE 69301
Open 24/7, free admission