Jim Reinders, Carhenge
2141 County Road 59, Alliance, Nebraska, 69301, United States
dedicated 1987 summer solstice
Visits to Carhenge are free, and the site is open to the public all day, every day.
About the Artist/Site
While studying in England, Jim Reinders was intrigued by the prehistoric monument, Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire County and created of three types of local stone. Although the original monument’s exact function is not known, it is postulated that it was involved in indigenous lunar and solar religious ceremonies.
At the 1982 memorial for Reinders’ father, Herman, who had lived on the land currently occupied by Carhenge, the relatives discussed how best to honor their family patriarch. Reinders suggested building a memorial that would copy Stonehenge’s physical size and placement, and the family agreed that they would reconvene five years later to install the monument. Ultimately, thirty-eight automobiles were arranged to mimic the shape and form of the English original. Some cars were placed upright, trunk end down and wedged into dirt pits serving to support their height; others were laid across the top of these vertical cars, welded into place. The entire work, once complete, was covered with grey spray paint, and it was dedicated during the summer solstice in 1987.
However, the municipality of Alliance did not consider the placement of this work as appropriate usage for this land, and mandated that the piece be demolished. However, one city councilmember, Paul Phaneuf, worked to determine how to bring the site into compliance, and in September 1989 the Friends of Carhenge was formed in order to address local concerns and preserve the site. Reinders donated the ten acres of land where Carhenge is located to the Friends; on October 1, 2013 they, in turn, donated it to the city of Alliance.
Since that time, additional works have been added to the Carhenge site, which has become known as the Car Art Reserve. Although the subject matter of the works varies widely, all of the sculptures include cars or car parts as their primary structure.
Visits to Carhenge are free, and the site is open to the public all day, every day. In June 2014 Carhenge was named as one of the top three “quirky landmarks” by the national newspaper USA Today.
~Jo Farb Hernández
Map & Site Information
2141 County Road 59
Alliance, Nebraska, 69301 us
Latitude/Longitude: 42.1385858 / -102.8590735
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