10 Wonders of the Midwest
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A Stonehenge replica-with cars
Stonehenge's fabled circle of gigantic stones in Wiltshire, England, still bewilders archaeologists. Carhenge's ring of cars in Alliance, Nebraska, perfectly mimics the original--and bewilders everyone.
Carhenge was built in 1987 by Jim Reinders and his family as a memorial to Reinders' father, who once lived on the farm where Carhenge was constructed. The site is now owned and maintained by a group called Friends of Carhenge.
See Cincinnati from the Eiffel Tower
People didn't like the 1,023-foot original at its 1889 World's Fair debut in Paris. But the one-third-size replica at Kings Island amusement park in Cincinnati has wowed visitors since 1972. Take an elevator to the observation deck for a view of the park and beyond.
Iowa's Sistine Chapel art
Inspired by Michelangelo's masterpiece inside Italy's Sistine Chapel, Paco Rosic spray-painted a replica onto the ceiling of his Galleria de Paco restaurant in Waterloo, Iowa.
Paco, who was born in Sarajevo, moved with his family to Waterloo in 1997. His graffiti art appears on community projects as well as in galleries.
The Leaning Tower of Niles
Legend says Galileo conducted scientific experiments from atop the Tower of Pisa in Italy. The half-size version in sister-city Niles, Illinois, was erected in 1934, most likely to store water for the town's outdoor swimming pools. Summer concerts are now held on the grounds near the tower, which was renovated in the 1990s.
Little Mermaid on the prairie
The real Little Mermaid sculpture gazes over the Copenhagen harbor. At a Kimballton, Iowa, city park, a replica sits in a splashing fountain, more than 1,000 miles from any sea.
Kimballton's Little Mermaid was created in 1978 as a tribute to the town's Danish roots. Originally made of fiberglass, she was recently recast in bronze for durability.
Seville Light fountain in Missouri
In 13th-century Seville, Spain, the Muslim faithful rid themselves of impurities in a fountain at the Patio de Los Naranjos. Today, shoppers in Kansas City clean out their wallets near Country Club Plaza's exact replica. Seville is one of Kansas City's sister cities.
A Liberty Bell of wheat
The original Liberty Bell was made of 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin and a composite of other elements. Mennonites in Goessel, Kansas, wove a full-size copy from Turkey Red Wheat straw for the bicentennial in 1976.
The wheat bell, which was displayed in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., for two years, is now on permanent display at the Mennonite Heritage Complex in Goessel, Kansas.
Wisconsin's Taj Mahal
An Indian emperor built the Taj Mahal in Agra to honor his deceased wife. Tassel-bedecked Shriners gather at Milwaukee's 1928 version. The building was inspired by its Indian counterpart and cost more than $600,000 to build and furnish.
Love at Mount Vernon Gardens
George Washington's contemporaries admired his Virginia estate for its panoramic views of the Potomac. Today's brides covet Missouri River views at a half-size garden in Omaha, Nebraska. You don't have to be in a wedding to visit, however; the garden is open year-round and admission is free.
Controversial David replica
The Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence Italy shields Michelangelo's David from the elements. Trees planted in 1973 shield Sioux Falls' replica of the nude from street traffic, appeasing the public, who felt the nudity would reflect poorly on the town's morals. The statue was donated to the city by a Sioux Falls inventor and automobile manufacturer.