Monday, August 29, 2011

Foamhenge at Natural Bridge

Foamhenge is a faithful, full-scale replica of Stonehenge created by fiberglass sculptor Mark Cline. According to Cline, the original in Wiltshire, England, took the Druids 1,500 years to build using 50-ton stones and up to 1,000 men, whereas the foam version took a couple of weeks, some 420-pound styrofoam blocks, “four Mexicans and one crazy white man to construct.” It appeared for the first time on April Fool's Day, 2004.

"About 15 years ago I walked into a place called Insulated Business Systems in Staunton where they make these huge 16-foot-tall styrofoam blocks," Mark tells us. "As soon as I saw them I immediately thought of the idea: 'Foamhenge.' On the site now occupied by Foamhenge, Mark originally wanted to build "Hayride Through The Civil War," an attraction that would involve fiberglass molds of re-enactors' faces. "This is Civil War country," Mark explains. The plan was dropped in place of Foamhenge because "this was cheaper and much faster to build."

Mark explains that each block is set into a hole in the ground and anchored with cement. "I put a 2.5" pipe all the way through each one down into the ground, like a nail holding it to the concrete," the same technique, on a larger scale, that a dentist uses to anchor a false tooth into a jaw.

To get to Foamhenge via I-81, take the Route 11, Natural Bridge exit (south). After you pass the Natural Bridge Zoo, watch on the right for the megalithic structure looming above. If the gate is open, just park and walk up the hill. There is no fee for admission.