It looms over the plain, mysterious circle of monoliths. Who built this huge structure? Whose mind conceived it?
Why is it made of fiberglass?
It all started with dinosaurs (yeah, I know, lots of things did). Wealthy Alabama businessman George Barber had commissioned artist Mark Cline to create some dinosaurs, a move guaranteed to add interest to one of Barber’s properties. In 2006, Cline was on-site, directing repairs to the giant beasts when Barber broached the subject of Stonehenge. Not exactly all in a day’s work, but Cline had previous experience building a Stonehenge replica from Styrofoam (and of course it’s known as Foamhenge). By 2012, Barber had selected the ideal spot for his own Stonehenge: the spacious grounds of Barber Marina, on the Intracoastal Waterway inland from Orange Beach, Alabama.
Now all that remained was picking a name. Fiberhenge was quickly rejected, and the winner was Bamahenge.
The replica is 21 feet tall and 104 feet across, identical with the original Stonehenge. Cline built the structure at his Virginia studio, then transported the fiberglass pieces via four flatbed trucks. To insure that Bamahenge would line up with the midsummer solstice, he consulted with astronomers. Anyone in the woods near Barber Marina on June 21 can see that he succeeded; the sun rises right over the center of three lintels on the outer markers. Bamahenge is an aesthetic success too—it looks just like stone.
Bamahenge is only 4 miles inland from the Gulf, so Cline took precautions to make the structure hurricane-resistant. Each fiberglass stone is anchored by a wooden pole extending eight feet up into the piece, and eight feet into the ground. The lower portion of each piece is filled with concrete and anchored in a concrete-filled pit.
His safety precautions paid off; during Hurricane Sally in 2020, the marina itself was heavily damaged, while Bamahenge came through the storm undaunted. The Druids would be pleased.
There’s no fee to see Bamahenge (or its neighboring dinosaurs). Directions are most easily explained as follows: From Elberta, Alabama, follow US 98 east for 3 miles, then turn right on County Road 95 and follow the signs to Barber Marina. Bamahenge itself is about 200 yards off
to the right of Barber Parkway. You can’t miss it.
For more information, check the website at www.barbermarina.com
photos by Kathie Farnell