The buffeting wind countered the warmth of summer as I slipped into shadow. This was a momentary stop, a diversion on a long day of driving from Emigrant Springs in Oregon’s Blue Mountains in the east to Astoria on the Pacific coast. Above me lofty heads lifted against a blue sky. Whispering of a forgotten past, of a time when young men went off to war, they circled me, stone upon stone, Stonehenge revisited, but more. There, etched on a plaque, names recalled Klickitat County’s fallen sons, heroes from World War I. Beyond it the blue waters of the Columbia slid on their way to the sea and golden hillsides slumbered below a distant snow-peaked mountain.
You would think this was the English countryside, where ancient stones stand, but Sam Hill’s Stonehenge Memorial, a tribute to Klickitat County’s fallen World War I soldiers, rises on a hillside above the Columbia gorge in Washington state.
Sam Hill, a millionaire businessman and Quaker, built this model as a full-scale replica of the original Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. The Stonehenge Memorial lies four miles east of the Maryhill Museum at the site of the original Maryhill townsite. On a bluff a short distance away Sam Hill’s crypt overlooks the Columbia.
“… Hill was mistakenly informed that the original Stonehenge had been used as a sacrificial site, and thus constructed the replica to remind us that ”humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war.” …” (Maryhill Museum Website, 2006)
I turned to go. It was time to move on Fort Stevens State Park, where a family reunion and an even more poignant remnant from the past awaited me.