Texas Stonehenge II

Stonehenge II - sitting in an open Texas field
While on a road trip in and around Kerrville, Texas in January, 2004, we suddenly came upon a site so totally unexpected that it stopped us right away. It was one of those, "What the hell? Do you see what I see?" moments.  Out driving around on random backroads just to see what we could see, by accident and sheer luck, we had taken a little 2-lane country road which led us to Texas' own Stonehenge. We spent the next hour, totally by ourselves, exploring and enjoying this unique and interesting place. Here's the story and the current status.

Until a couple of months ago, outside of Hunt, Texas sat Stonehenge II, a copy of the original Stonehenge which is more than 3,500 miles away in England. 90% as wide and 60% as tall as the original, Texas Stonehenge was built by Al Sheppard and Doug Hill, two Texas cowboys with money to spend and time on their hands.

Author and Youngest-daughter sitting in the
middle of Stonehenge II.
When Doug Hill finished pouring a new patio in 1989, he ended up with a spare slab of limestone. He offered it to his friend and neighbor, Al Sheppard. Sheppard liked how the stone looked so he planted it upright in an open field on his property. After looking at it for a while, they decided it appeared a bit strange standing out in the field all alone like that so Al and Doug built a 13-foot arch behind the slab. And that started the ball rolling. Doug began to fabricate stone "look-alikes” from steel, metal lathe and plaster. Painted and anchored with cement, these fabrications look like the real thing. Soon, a circle of stones began to rise from the earth. Nine months later, Stonehenge II was complete.

They didn't stop there though. Eighteen months later, two 13-foot Easter Island look-alikes were added to silently guard the Stonehenge masterpiece.

Visited on a very cold, windy day.
Al Sheppard passed away in 1994 and his nephew inherited the property. For the next 16 years, the art work stood in the field, open for free to any visitors. Remarkably, maybe due to the somewhat remote location, or maybe just because folks who visited were inspired to be on good behavior, there was no vandalism, no graffiti.

In 2010 though, the property was sold to someone who didn't have the same vision as Al and Doug all those years ago. People in the community found out the new owner intended to bulldoze them over.

Peek-a-boo amongst the megaliths.
Fortunately, David Cockrell, executive director of the Hill Country Arts Foundation in the nearby town of Ingram heard and decided to do something about it. The Foundation, after several fundraisers, trucked all 75 pieces of Stonehenge II eight miles east into town and  set them up in an open field on their 15-acre campus near the softball fields and the Foundation’s Park Theatre. The megaliths and statues have been reinforced with concrete and rebar so they can survive a good long time in their new downtown location.

Easter Island in Texas.
 
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