Stonehenge II offers an “incredible” Hill Country experience


Heading to Wiltshire, England might be on your bucket list, but a trip just outside of San Antonio might be in your budget. In Ingram, just an hour’s drive north of San Antonio, is Stonehenge II, a structure modeled after the original historic landmark in southern England. The structure can be seen off Highway 39 in Ingram and is a must stop on a day trip through the Hill Country.

I have often heard of Stonehenge II during my adventures through the Hill Country. So, deciding to get away from the laptop and out of the house for a few hours, I finally paid a visit recently. I was hoping to explore something I didn’t expect to see in the hills of Kerr County. As I walked into Ingram I looked at my phone to see how far I should drive. When I turned my head to the left, there it was.

It was bigger than I imagined, and it was just sitting in an open field. I pulled into the Hill Country Arts Foundation (HCAF) parking lot and saw these huge rock pillars. After suspending my disbelief, I started noticing the surroundings. A baseball diamond stood behind the structure, along with a restaurant, theater, and other works of art.

The grand structure, Stonehenge II, at Ingram.

Gabriel Romero/MySA

HCAF executive director Sarah Derousseau said there were times when people came to Stonehenge II for interesting reasons.

“We went out once and saw people dancing around while wearing white masks,” she said with a laugh. “There were about 15 people there and they weren’t doing anything wrong.”

The Stonehenge Celtic Festival and Highland Games will take place on April 30, where a pipe band plays in the structure as the games are played next to Stonehenge II.

Stonehenge II is free and open daily from dawn to dusk, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. HCAF was founded in 1959 as a center for the visual and performing arts. There are two theaters, a 520-seat outdoor theater and a 100-seat indoor theater. On the other side of the parking lot you will pass a shiny windmill sculpture and other art exhibits in their art gallery. The HCAF also offers art workshops.

Stonehenge II began in 1989, when Kerr County native Doug Hill was working on his back terrace in Hunt, west of Ingram. When he finished, Hill was left with a slab of limestone. He offered the massive stone slab to his neighbor, Al Sheppard, as a joke. Sheppard took the boulder and planted it straight in the middle of his pasture.

From inside Stonehenge II.

From inside Stonehenge II.

Gabriel Romero/MySA

The two men liked the look of the monolith and began building an arch around the slab. The arch was 13 feet tall and reminded both of them of the classic Stonehenge. The two decided to build a Stonehenge in the United States. Made from stone, steel, metal lathe, plaster and anchored in cement, it took nine months to complete construction.

Stonehenge II is 90% wider and 60% taller than the original. Stonehenge was erected around 2500 BC. AD and was believed to be used for religious ceremonies. Sheppard was inspired to add two 13-foot-tall Moai head statues. After Sheppard passed away in 1994, his family donated Stonehenge II and the Moai to the Hill Country Arts Foundation (HCAF) in his memory years later. Sheppard was a supporter of HCAF and the structures were moved to the HCAF campus in 2012.

No one was there when I visited and the wind was blowing furiously. I entered the monument and just heard a whistle. I guess the spacing between the pillars was to blame which made the trip even more unique. I touched the monument made of stones, steel, metal lathes, plaster. It was hollow when I hit it.

Visiting Stonehenge II just didn’t feel real. I mean, for me, it was as close to Stonehenge as I will ever get in my life. I just wish I had brought my family so we could have had a picnic and I could watch my son run and jump on the rocks.

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