Jim Peters Reveals the Mystery of Strawhenge As Saline Celtic Festival Nears


We may never fully understand the purpose of Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, built with massing standing stones some 4,000 or 5,000 years ago.

Fortunately, we were able to catch up with the builder of Strawhenge, which stands near the front gates of the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds.

Saline resident Jim Peters, one of the organizers of the Saline Celtic Festival, built Strawhenge with farmer Steve Drake and volunteers from the Celtic Festival committee, Washtenaw Farm Council and Saline Area Historical Society.

Peters has a history of combining his engineering skill and fascination with history to find fun ways to promote the Saline Celtic Festival, which happens July 7-8 at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. He built the smoke-breathing dragons for the festival when it was at Mill Pond Park. He built a Celtic-themed crop circle at the Braun Brothers’ and then had an aerial photo taken in the 2010s.

Strawhenge is built to be a half-scale replica of Stonehenge. So it’s about 63 feet in diameter. It took 336 bales of straw - or about 7.5 tons of straw. Steve Drake provided the straw, the equipment to build the structure and some agricultural know-how.

It took Peters about 40 hours to research the project and then another 80 hours of geometry and drafting to create the plans. Then it took another 40 hours of work on-site to measure, survey and landscape paint. On top of that, eight volunteers worked eight hours each to build Strawhenge. Then there were another 80 hours, at least, running around, collecting straw, wedding bail stack supports, traveling back and forth and to the hardware store.

In all, Peters estimates it took 300 hours to build Strawhenge.

“Not bad, considering it took 1,000 years to build the real thing,” Peters said.

True, but some of those Stonehenge stones weigh 25 tons.

Peters is a history buff who breathed a lot of new life into the prehistoric history and pe-European history of Saline with his research and talks. Saline’s newest park - Salt Springs Park - was one of the area's first meeting grounds for people and animals alike. The park would never have come to fruition without Peters’ work. He located the salt spring and worked with city officials to have the area declared a park. It’s no surprise that Peters has great respect for the builders of Stonehenge.

“It's amazing this could be done by an early culture with such limited technology and resources. Stonehenge pre-dates the Egyptian Giza Pyramids by 500 years,” Peters said. “I'm convinced the Stonehenge builders were smarter than us today. I appreciate just how capable and ingenious our ancestors were.”

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