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The Stonehenge Memorial and Klickitat County Veterans Memorial

One of the most unique war memorials in the United States

The Klickitat County Veterans’ Memorial sideview of “Stonehenge” with Mount Hood in the distance. The imposing full-size replica of Stonehenge sits on a cliff overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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One of the most unique war memorials in the United States is the Stonehenge Memorial in Goldendale, Washington. This full-scale replica of the ancient Neolithic structure in Wiltshire County, England, honors 13 young Klickitat County men who lost their lives in World War I.

Samuel Hill, a Quaker pacifist and patron of this region, visited England during the war and had the opportunity to tour the Stonehenge site. At that time, it was thought to be used for human sacrifices to pagan gods. The visit had a profound effect on Hill, who saw a correlation between human sacrifice and war.

"After all our civilization, the flower of humanity still is being sacrificed to the god of war on fields of battle," he said.

On Hill's return, he sought to build a monument to the sacrifices of the men who lost their lives, yet remember the folly of war.  With memories of Stonehenge, he selected a site on his land, which overlooked the dramatic landscape of the Columbia River Gorge. The altar stone was dedicated July 4, 1918. It was the first WWI memorial in the country. The completed structure was dedicated May 30, 1929.

In 1995, the Maryhill Museum of Art and Klickitat County Veterans Association partnered together to honor county residents who died in service to the nation since WWI. This memorial that was built is tucked into a hillside across from the Stonehenge Memorial.

Stonehenge and Klickitat Memorial, daily, 7 a.m. to dusk, free, three miles east of the Maryhill Museum of Art, just off Hwy. 14

When visiting the memorial, take the time to stop in the Maryhill Museum of Art and learn more about founder Sam Hill. He was a very successful businessman and became very influential in the Northwest in the early 1900s, and the permanent collection has a gallery dedicated to him. In addition to Stonehenge, he was instrumental in having the Peace Arch built on the Canadian Border. He was very interested in the automobile as a mode of transportation and built the first road in Washington State. The gallery dedicated to him has many artifacts, photo mementos and souvenirs from his travels.

The museum also offers programs during the upcoming Veterans Day holiday weekend. On Saturday, Nov. 11, the museum offers free admission to veterans and active-duty military.  On Sunday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m., Gavin McIlvenna, president of the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, will speak about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the World War I Unknown Soldier.  At 2 p.m., historian Lorraine McConaghy will host a "Reader Theater" with the theme "Washington at War: The Evergreen State in WWI."     

Maryhill Museum of Art, daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 35 Maryhill Museum Dr., Goldendale, 509.733.3733,

Note: the museum closes for the season Nov. 15 and will reopen March 15, 2018.

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