Untitled Stainless Steel or Admit it, Washington State, You Have a Fetish!

Stainless02photo from the website of the General Administration of the State of Washington, with permission

Okay, so it’s only a sculpture with Stonehenge references, but coming as it does from the Stonehenge State, we thought this huge untitled piece worth documenting on Clonehenge. The sculptor was Lee Kelly, an artist well known in the Pacific Northwest.

Olympia is the capital city of Washington, and this sculpture is installed near the Transportation Building on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. Stonehenge reaching right to the Capitol of the Stonehenge State! According to the website we linked to above, Kelly said that with this sculpture he wanted to “deal with the ancient attitudes of man and his relationship to what he makes with his mind and hand.

Stainless03To suggest ancient attitudes, he mimics, without stating, the trilithon, in steel. It is a likable public piece. We can imagine children clambering over it and running through it. And by children we partly mean, of course, the imaginations of adults who are too stiff about their image in the eyes of others to actually do any of that. But their minds suggest it and their fingers ache to touch that cool steel.

The sculpture was completed in 1973, and we think the Seventies show in it a little, that cosmic resonance people looked for back then, the plainness and friendliness. Kelly also said about the piece, “the forms are simple in that everyone can ‘understand’ them. The mystery is in their interrelationships, the spaces they create, as well as the relationship to the building and plaza.

Here is another work Kelly did at roughly the same time in his career, and here are other works, most of them newer. Of course, this isn’t a Stonehenge replica so it is difficult to score. Score: 4½ druids as a replica. Quite a bit higher as a piece of public art. We think it is handsome and has that quality of suggesting greater things! You can see the other Stonehenge replicas and sculptures in Washington State here. What a place for henge-ophiles!

If anyone has any replicas they would like posted, this would be a great time to send them in, as we’re running uncharacteristically low, not because of scarcity, of course, but because the photo permissions have been elusive. Come on, help us out. We’re almost at the end of our first year of posting, so you can call it a birthday present!

Stonehenge at the Office Plaza, Renton, Washington State


photo by Denise Zullig, with permission

In the center of the Southgate Office Plaza, a few blocks from the WOTC (Wizards of the Coast) headquarters, in Renton, Washington, stands this odd homage to Stonehenge, without even a plaque for explanation. We have been on the track of this sculpture/monument for months and only through the Flickr photostream of Rick Umali were we able to track it down.

renton-rick-umali[photo at left by Rick Umali] We got in touch with City of Renton Communications Director  Preeti Shridhar, who through Jennifer Davis Hayes was able to send us  great photos by Denise Zullig. It takes a village to do a Clonehenge post! Our thanks to all of you.

renton-3What else do we know? Almost nothing. It’s an odd one, an arc of trilithons made up of what appear to be cement blocks. Judging by the architecture of the building (nicknamed the Ziplock building–well, look at it!) in the lower photo, also by Zullig, we would guess that it’s been there a few decades. But who built it, how and why, are unknown to us. It’s Washington State, we’re tempted to say, so of course there’s a Stonehenge!

Score: 5 druids. It’s not at all accurate, but what a pleasant surpise to find something like this in a corporate setting! If we find out more, we’ll post it. In the meanime, props to the people of The Stonehenge State. Way to honour the ancients!

You can see it on Google Street View here.

Splash Stonehenge Replica, Monroe, Washington


photo from the website of Falling Water Designs

Why couldn’t Stonehenge be a fountain? As a matter of fact, English Heritage, it is not too late! Make that tunnel you’d been planning a little smaller, put pipes in it, and have a water feature expert come in and design the water flow . . .

Well, maybe not, but to make up for it, Rick Perry, owner of Falling Water Designs in Monroe, Washington (yes, Washington! We’ll get back to that), outside Seattle, created this remarkable partial-Stonehenge-replica water feature of what looks like real stone to us. We know that Rick or someone he works with has a mild case of megalithia* because of other photos on the website.

This seems to be made of two trilithons at an angle to one another, a configuration we haven’t seen before. Score: 5½ druids. Yes, it is ridiculous, but that element of humour might help the thing remain a pleasure over time. Hmm . . . do you think, if we slow the water down, we could grow mosses?

Anyway, it is Washington State again. Despite Michigan’s desperate attempts at holding its title, like a woodhenge we’ve heard of but can’t seem to find and an odd snowmobile “hinge” that doesn’t quite make the henginess cut, it looks like Washington State has usurped the coveted title of The Stonehenge State. And we still have a Washington replica we have yet to show you! What is going on up there??

* a condition, rarely fatal unless combined with clumsiness, which creates a compulsion to erect megaliths

Winter Solstice Henge, Washington State Again


photo by littlemysteries, with permission

What kind of secret waves are broadcast through the air in Washington State? It has become Michigan’s only rival for the slogan, The Stonehenge State. (See the Clonehenge page, The 44 Large, Permanent Replicas) We’ve heard there may be another Stonehenge replica outside Seattle and believe me, we’re looking into it.

This henge was temporary, though, and only a partial one. It was built in a backyard in Clarkston, Washington, littlemysteries tells us, “for a Winter Solstice gathering and ritual,” out of  “wire, papier mâché [re-spelled by us just because we like diacritical marks], old wallpaper, and paint (and possibly other materials, I’m not sure)

Remarkably, this is the only case we know in which the replica was privately built for a solstice ritual. We’re lucky to have a record of it.

Score: 6 druids, at least one of them awarded for the motivation of the builders. It’s good that Washington supplies the West Coast with henges, because California and Oregon seem to be falling down on the job.

P.S.: littlemysteries, we see those melting peeps in your photostream, and the peepicide, too! Frankly your peep-related behaviour worries us a little. Is one being drowned? And what’s with the tag peepdeath?! (What is it about peeps that spurs violence? See the bottom photo on this PeepHenge page.)

Kennewick Man–Washington State Strikes Again


photo by Bethany Lee, reposted from Atomictown.com / Tri-City Herald

We’ve always  been amused by things that show penguins and polar bears together. They’re from opposite ends of the world, right? How would they be together? Turns out there’s a similar trend with Stonehenge replicas: people will sometimes add, not a model of Silbury Hill or a barrow or a stone-lined avenue such as you might find near Stonehenge in Wiltshire but–moai such as you might find halfway around the world on Easter Island.

What’s that about? We can think of three examples* including this one. Unlike Washington’s Maryhill Stonehenge, today’s replica is small and privately owned, built by Ed Mays of Kennewick, Washington to replace the old rose garden in front of his home. Quoting from the article: “After forming some pillar bases for the replica, Mays estimates he went through about 75 sacks of cement, which he mixed all on his own. . . . In addition to the circular henge, he placed a giant rock with a carved out face in the center to portray another large rock design, Easter Island.

Far be it from us to do anything but encourage henge building as a retirement activity! If we get a laugh out of this garden megalith complex (complete with a spotlight on the ersatz moai!), it is meant in the same good humour displayed by Mr. Mays’ admirable creation. Score: 5 druids for a game try by this solo pensioner!

* Stonehenge II in Texas and Harry Rossett’s Stonehenge come to mind.

Maryhill Stonehenge: the first major American replica, Washington state


photo from this site

The subject of this post, the Maryhill, Washington State Stonehenge replica, has a longer and less whimsical history than other Stonehenge replicas. Building of the monument began in 1918 and was completed in 1929. The builder, renowned Quaker Sam Hill meant it to commemorate local men who died in World War I and to remind people throughout the ages of the sacrifices of war. An excellent account is given at this link, and you can see an aerial perspective here.

We included the Youtube video both to add a little levity (the superior Stonehenge? sacrificial virgins?) and because it gives a sense of the hush that seems to come upon people inside the circle. This replica more than any other can leave visitors with a sense of awe and of the uncanny when they enter the arc of its concrete uprights. Maybe the spectacular siting and the sincere intent of the builder created the right environment for a gathering of the spirits that once lay beneath the land.

For perhaps the only time, we award the coveted 9 druids score to this haunted henge.

Note: We thought this was the earliest of the large henges, but we received this information from an alert and friendly reader:

I’m afraid the Washington replica is 200 years after the first known
example, at Wilton House, erected for the Earl of Pembroke.

The historic importance of the Washington replica is though in my
opinion, that it was the first to be erected after actual stones were
raised (‘restored’) at Stonehenge (1901) and at Avebury in the
K.Avenue (1911).

Thank you! Our apologies. Perhaps we’ll post that older replica once we find out more about it.