Some believe it's a calendar. Others say it's a cosmic nexus for spiritual awakening. Still others argue it's some sort of message from intergalactic, bug-eyed visitors. Me? I say Stonehenge is just another British excuse to divert tourism dollars overseas. Or possibly a druidic boxing ring.
But no matter what view you choose to adopt, there's just no reason to suffer bland food and bad weather to experience the majesty of enormous, stacked rocks.
Thanks to yet another generous Texas visionary with a lot of free time and a spare stretch of land, you can witness the pride of Salisbury, England, on a back road just 60 miles northwest of San Antonio. Stonehenge II, as it is aptly named, welcomes the curious and the inquisitive to enjoy its magnificence at absolutely no charge and without the risk of someone calling you "guvnuh."
Exactly why was it built? Well, that's a question asked quite often of attractions at Texas Twisted, and one I rarely attempt to answer. But I will recount the how by which Stonehenge II came into existence.
Doug Hill, a tile contractor and builder, finished constructing a patio for himself in 1989 when he was left with a spare slab of limestone. He offered the large stone to his friend and neighbor Al Shepperd, who liked the look of it and planted it upright on his property.
Al thought the stone had a certain appeal, but was afraid it just wasn't visible enough from the road. So, with the help of his friend Doug, they built a 13-foot-tall arch behind the limestone to accentuate it. But this simple structure only served to fuel Al Shepperd's creative fire.
Having visited the original Stonehenge, Al couldn't help but see a similarity in his new arch. The only logical thing to do would be to complete the picture. Al put up the money, and with the help of his gracious neighbor once again, a circle of stones began to rise from the ground.
Of course, the only real stone in the bunch is that original limestone wedge. Doug's fabrications are a clever combination of steel, metal mesh and plaster, all anchored in cement. Painted and weathered, though, they're hard to tell from the real thing. Unless you give one a good knock and find out it's actually hollow.
The finished project is just 90% as tall as the original and 60% as wide, but it still took a good nine months to complete. And this enormous Domino Rally hasn't toppled like the other one.
Besides, a visit to Stonehenge II yields a bonus journey to the Chilean isle of Rapa Nui, or as you probably know it, Easter Island. A year and a half after the completion of Stonehenge II, a pair of moai were added two very imposing, 13-foot-tall heads. Al had apparently attained a fascination with ancient monuments, and after visiting the mysterious South Pacific island, decided he needed a couple of giant faces of his own.
Al had even planned the addition of a totem pole to his collection, having studied ancient Indian tribes in Alaska. Sadly, he passed away in 1994 and was unable to begin construction.
Fortunately, the property and the monuments have remained under the care of Al's family, and they extend Al's invitation for you to pay a visit.
When you head out, though, just remember we drive on the right over here.