The Henge on a Hill off Longhollow Road: It’s a Mystery!

Photo of the Longhollow Road replica, by Karl J Mohr, used with permission

Photo of the Longhollow Road replica, by Karl J Mohr, used with permission

Recent update since this page is getting some traffic: this Stonehenge is no longer a mystery. In fact its builder, Ralph Radke, even joined the Clonehenge: Stonehenge Replicas Unleashed group on Facebook. And here is a delightful article about him and his henge from the Galena Gazette, June 2020: Building his very own Stonehenge. Anyway, we welcome any new visitors and invite you to have a look at our list of large permanent replicas around the world!

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Happy October and welcome! When we last left the state of Illinois (almost five years ago!), it was boasting a single, rather idiosyncratic Stonehenge replica not far outside Chicago at a paragliding and flight field. That one has since gone to new owners and for all we know may no longer be there.

Illinois was chugging along with that large replica and one or two smaller museum replicas, and then in late winter or early spring of this year we heard from a fellow named Chad Delhotal, who said,

There is a fairly large stone replica of Stonehenge on a road (could be Longhollow Rd) just north of Rt 20 between the towns of Galena and Elizabeth in northwestern Illinois. No mention of this anywhere, but it’s there.

He sent us a link to a site that included this photo, and then managed to get us the coordinates so we could find it on Google Maps. We sat back and stared. It is rare for us to hear about a full-sized United States replica that is in plain site these days. We thought we had them all, dammit!

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Megalithic thingie in Galena Illinois

It was suspicious. When a new Stonehenge replica shows up, there is invariably an article about it in the local or regional newspaper. It’s the kind of wacky thing papers love to put in the lifestyle section, and usually henge builders like to show their henges off. There was nothing at all online about this, although there seems to be some other megalithic structure/thingie in the car park of the Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel in nearby Galena, Illinois.

We added the new henge to our List of Large Permanent Replicas and sat back, hoping for more information to roll in. Surely the Clonehenge Faithful (an imaginary fan club we talk to a lot when no one’s around) would get us more information! Right? Months went by and nothing,. Nothing, we tell you! A maddening silence of epic proportions. Dammit, humanity, you had ONE job!

Then six months later we received this email from a Karl Mohr (surely a pseudonym or maybe an acronym—let’s see…Keeping A Replica Lost…, well, maybe not.). The email said,

I was at a scenic overlook area near Elizabeth, IL and saw a Stonehenge type of structure about 2 miles in the distance (It was barely visible to the naked eye – I caught it thru my 300mm zoom lens). I decided to drive there and snap a few shots from the road. I’d be willing to share them if you’re interested.

Aerial view from Google Maps

Aerial view from Google Maps

We were interested, and one of his brilliant photos is at the top of his post, another below. BUT the mystery remains. We have scoured maps and done searches, but we can’t even find the names of the people who live in the house closest to the replica, surely the first suspects we would like to interrogate. We don’t know when this henge was built, who built it, why it was built, or what it’s made of.

We can see from the aerial view that it consists of the sarsen ring and an inner trilithon horseshoe. It appears to be large, if not full-sized, and fairly new but not brand new, judging from the lack of a visible road by which the stones may have been hauled there.

Of course, the stones could have been lowered by alien space ships, but our doctor tells us not to think about things like that these days!

Someone has gone to the trouble of planning and building this Stonehenge replica in rural Illinois without seeking the spotlight, without any major news outlets picking it up, and without advertising. Why? Questions abound, my friends! But we have, alas, no answers, the definition of a mystery.

As for a score, hard to say, but it looks very nice. We award it a tentative 7 druids! For size and looks, mostly, and a little extra for the whole mystery going on.

If any of you live or visit nearby, please ask around for us and find out what the locals know! Why would you build a huge Stonehenge replica and not tell anyone about it? The force of the Stonehenge-building urge never fails to amaze.


Photo by Karl Mohr, used with permission

Keep reporting those replicas, large and small. And until next time, friends, happy henging!

Chicago Planetarium Stonehenge(s): All About the Sky

photo from  Prashanth Sriram’s photostream on Flickr

The website of  Chicago’s Adler Planetarium says, “As visitors approach the exhibition, they are greeted by a full-size replica of a familiar giant stone monolith from Stonehenge.” Do we forgive them for using the word monolith where trilithon is the correct term? We’ll think about it.

But they do have this rather nice depiction of a piece of that ancient megalithic circle we all know and love. We don’t know what it’s made of, but we’re guessing fiberglass. It  looks a little like a movie set Stonehenge.

Plenty of planetariums have some form of Stonehenge replica (remember Kuala Lumpur?), but we’ve had our eye on Chicago for a while because of the structure on the left, entitled America’s Courtyard, an outdoor stone spiral that some people refer to as Stonehenge. (Photo by Mike Boehmer) You can read more about this public sculpture here at the sculptors’ page. (Please forgive them their typos. They are Brazilian, and English is not their first language.) Here’s another page about it, and a photo of it in the snow.

We’ve always liked that sculpture and couldn’t work it in (not hengy enough!)  until we found the photo at the top. Of course, Chicago is better known for its remarkable sculpture Cloud Gate. If you visit, we recommend seeing both!

But back to the trilithon, which now seems rather mundane. We’re giving it 5½ druids. We’re glad the planetarium is helping to keep people Stonehenge conscious. It’s as if trilithons were big staples for stapling the sky to the landscape. Oh, those ancients–they worked in big cubicles!

Harryport Henge, Illinois

photo (cropped)  from the website of the Illinois Powered Paragliding Association

One of the joys of producing this blog is finding Stonehenge replicas that haven’t made it onto the big lists yet. One example was the Oklahoma replica and this one in Illinois is another, the henge at Harryport (a private airfield), or, as it is termed in this link describing the process, Harry Rossett’s Stonehenge. Lots of good pictures on that link, of the creation of this henge which is made of foam covered with concrete. You can see it here on Google Maps:

We cannot say that building a full-sized Stonehenge replica is a sign of good character (It may be. Needz moar rsrch!), but it is a likely indicator of good humour and a guarantee that one is a Very Interesting Person. We have an inkling that one of the main motives behind this henge may have been testosteronic bravado–which was probably what generated the original Stonehenge, too, at least in part, so cheers to Harry Rossett! The stone shapes and proportions are off and the whole thing looks more skinny than ponderous, but we’ll give him a 6 druid score for his hangglider henge!