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Henry Warren, Shangri-La (a.k.a White Rock Village)

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  • Location:

    Prospect Hill, North Carolina, USA (Map)

  • Status:

    Extant

  • Artist:
  • Built:

    1968 to 1977

  • Materials:

    arrowheads, concrete, rock

About the Artist/Site

Around 1968, retired tobacco farmer Henry Warren began creating an art environment along Route 86, in the small North Carolina town of Prospect Hill. He started out with little more than an idea to make a miniature building, but he was inspired by the project and encouraged by his neighbors to build more. Using white flint rock and concrete he mixed in a wheelbarrow, and working almost every day for the next 9 years of his life, Warren created a miniature city he called Shangri-La.

He adopted the name from James’ Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon, in which the author describes a kind of earthly utopia. Warren’s little city consisted of nearly 30 buildings, including the Dew Drop Inn, the Little Brown Church in the Dell, the White Rock Motel, and the Rocky Theatre—all encrusted with arrowheads, colored tile, costume jewelry, colored glass, and other found objects he found at flea markets and thrift stores. He also embedded over 11,000 stone arrowheads into the walkway leading to his home.

After Warren’s death, his wife and sister maintained Shangri-La. It is in deteriorating condition today, but still viewable from old Route 86, about 3 miles south of the intersection of Route 119 in Prospect Hill.

~John Foster



SPACES Archive Holdings

1 folder: images

Map and site information

18980 North Carolina 86
Prospect Hill, North Carolina, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 36.249081 / -79.190973

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