Stonehenge of Notre Dame, Indiana

photo by Michael Bohn, aka digitalbohn, used with permission

Okay, so how did this get by us for so long? Known variously as the Clarke Peace Memorial Fountain, Clarke Memorial Fountain, War Memorial Fountain and Notre Dame’s Stonehenge, this may be the only Stonehenge-referenced sculpture on the campus of a Roman Catholic university. It consists of four huge trilithons and five fountains, one for each trilithon and one rising from the sphere at the center of the monument. The taker of the photos toward the bottom of this post, a man we know only as John and by his Flickr name, Imazing, tells us, “This center fountain crashes down onto the sphere, creating a beautiful effect, especially during the night time when it is lit up.” You can see it here. Amazing photo!

The proportions of the trilithons echo the architecture of the Theodore M. Hesburgh Library which stands behind it, as you can see in the same picture.  As an interesting aside, another side of the library , seen on the left, displays a huge mural that depicts Jesus, the central figure in Christianity, teaching. Around Notre Dame, a school known for its American football team, this mural is affectionately known as Touchdown Jesus because his arms are in the position used by referees to signal a successful goal, or “touchdown” in American football.

On this page we find this paragraph about the fountain, “A survey published in a recent edition of The Dome revealed that 68 percent of Notre Dame’s senior class had run through the waters of Clarke Memorial Fountain at least one time. Certainly an even larger percentage has gravitated here to study, socialize, and even dance in the shadow of this campus landmark. Perhaps the lure of the fountain lies in the hauntingly timeless appeal of its mammoth form, which noted New York architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee (Notre Dame class of 1956) purposely designed to mimic the mystical, monolithic monuments built in Britain during the Bronze Age. Not surprisingly, its nickname is Stonehenge.

Okay, yes, as you point out, you pedant, surely they mean megalithic rather than monolithic here. But it does show that the sculptors did have Stonehenge in mind, not the case, we’re told, about the campus sculpture commonly called Stonehenge at the University of California at San Diego. We must say it does have a nice looming effect. We like it much more than the Rolla Stonehenge at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. That one is more functional, though, while this is just, well, art. There’s something very robotic about that Rolla unit.

We found this Stonehenge, by the way, while browsing the Stonehenge page of a website on Peace Monuments Around the World. Thanks to them for that and for linking to us! There is more information and many more pictures of this monument on the Historical Marker Database.

The monument at night, photo used by permission

As for score: 6½ druids, which is what we gave to Rolla. We’re pleased to be adding another campus Stonehenge, another Stonehenge fountain and another to our list of Large Permanent Replicas, all at once! Who knows what further henging delights may be lurking out there?

Hope you’re enjoying the summer, or winter if you’re in the–heh–lower hemisphere! ;-)  Happy henging!

Third photo by Imazing, used with permission. Touchdown Jesus photo is in the public domain.

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