Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England made from a ring of giant standing stones. Carhenge is relative new monument in Alliance, Nebraska made from a ring of regular-sized standing cars.
That’s right, this Nebraska roadside attraction is replica of Stonehenge made of cars.
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska stands at 96 feet in diameter and is made up of thirty eight gray-painted cars (Stonehenge, by contrast is 330 feet in diameter). Some of the automobiles that make up this tourist attraction are buried trunk-down in five-foot pits, others are soldered on top, creating arches. The heel stone is represented by a 1962 Cadillac.
Experimental artist Jim Reinders created the roadside attraction out of old cars in 1987, as a tribute to his late father, Herman Reinders. He was so intrigued by Wiltshire, England’s Stonehenge that he wanted to recreate it with a modern, American, twist. And what could be more American than cars?
The car Stonehenge clone was officially born in 1987, five years after the initial conception. At a family reunion Reinders, along with thirty family members, constructed the roadside attraction out of 38 vintage American automobiles that were salvaged from nearby dumps and farms. Each were meticulously placed to be accurate to the historic monument which the attraction plays homage to. Carhenge Nebraska carefully mimics the shape, proportions, and size of the original. Only using cars instead of stones.
The Nebraska Stonehenge replica was completed just in time for the 1987 Summer Solstice and the family celebrated together with drinks, songs, and an original play written by the family.
Recreating Stonehenge with cars as art was met with resistance from locals and the Alliance city council quickly ordered it torn down. Luckily, other locals formed a Friends of Carhenge alliance to save it from destruction. Jim Reinders ended up donating the 10 acres of land where the attractions sits on to the Friends of Carhenge who preserved it until 2013. That year, they gifted it to the Citizens of Alliance who now maintain the land and the attraction.
Today, 60,000 visitors from all around the world visit Carhenge every year and the town proudly boasts that it is home the car art.
Today, you can not only visit the famed Stonehenge made of cars, but browse surrounding art made of old cars and car parts in the adjacent Car Art Reserve, including more car art from Jim Reinders: the “Ford Seasons,” a sculpture of four cars representing the four seasons. (Learn more here.)
There is also a gift shop off the parking lot with snacks, souvenirs, postcards, a penny machine, and bathrooms.
Over three decades from its conception, this reproduction of Stonehenge made out of cars is still one of the most popular roadside attractions in Nebraska, if not the entire United States.
Where is Carhenge in Nebraska?
Carhenge in located 3 miles north of Alliance, Nebraska at the western end of the Nebraksa Sandhills Journey on highway 87.
Are there other Stonehenge roadside attractions in America?
Take a PEEK at Carhenge!
Photos of Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska in 2019
The second time I visited Carhenge was in August 2019. I was on a ten-day, ten-state road trip from Chicago to Idaho and back that went through Nebraska.
Though not on our original itinerary, my friend and I decided to ditch I-80 and instead take the scenic route, and drive the entire length of the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway, which spans 272 miles from Grand Island to Alliance. And, when in Alliance, you can’t not go to Carhenge.
As we neared Alliance it started pouring rain and we worried that by the time we reached our destination it would be too dark and wet to enjoy the pit stop.
Luckily, soon after we arrived, the skies cleared leaving a beautiful even light and an even more beautiful double rainbow.
Carhenge Photos, 2008
On our Mount Rushmore road trip in 2008, my friend Emily and I had been driving all night, it was getting dark, it was getting late, we were tired, and we just wanted to find a hotel in Nebraska. We finally saw a patch of lights and pulled off into Chadron. We got food at a diner and then drove around the town looking for a vacancy.
There were none.
So, we kept driving, an hour more, to Alliance, Nebraska. We checked into a Days Inn — while they had a free room, all the towels had been used, ice was in the ice bucket, an opened bar of soap was on the bathroom counter, the air conditioner was making strange noises.
But none of that mattered. We had made it all the way to Alliance and we had beds to sleep in and in the morning we were going to our first stop of the day, something so important that even the Days Inn Guide listed it first in the section titled “things to do in Alliance, Nebraska.”
And that would be my first trip to Carhenge.
Carhenge, Stonehenge Made of Cars
Location: 2141 County Rd. 59, Alliance, NE 69301
Hours: Open daily at all hours. Daylight hours are preferred.
Cost: Free. Donations are accepted.
Date: August 2008, August 2019