Rock On!

Last week Len, Willa, and I took a road trip to Puyallup, WA (just outside of Tacoma). 

  • Len attended an EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Chapter Leadership Bootcamp event. 
  • I had uninterrupted writing to accomplish. 
  • Willa? She simply loves road trips!

On the way back to Boise, we stopped at STONEHENGE. Yes, you read that right. We stopped at the American Stonehenge in Maryhill, Washington.

Stonehenge 1 watermark

The Maryhill Stonehenge—a replica of England’s Stonehenge—is built on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River, the border between Washington and Oregon. It was commissioned in the early 20th century by the wealthy entrepreneur Sam Hill, and dedicated on July 4, 1918, as a memorial to the people who had died in World War I.


We were wondering if the expression “What in the Sam Hill?” is based on the Maryhill Stonehenge Sam Hill. According to Wikipedia, it’s not. They explain: 

Sam Hill is an American English slang phrase, a euphemism or minced oath for ‘the devil’ or ‘hell’ personified (as in, ‘What in the Sam Hill is that?’). The ‘Sam’ coming from (sal(o)mon an oath) and ‘Hill’’from hell. Etymologist Michael Quinion and others date the expression back to the late 1830s.”

I lived in Washington state for five years and never once heard about the Maryhill Stonehenge. Finding out about it rocked my world.

What’s the most recent thing that’s rocked your world? 


71 thoughts on “Rock On!

  1. How wonderful to find a little bit of old England in the USA! And I love the expression too, although I had never heard of it, ‘What on Earth’ or ‘What the Dickens’ being more common here.

    I’ve seen so many wonders in our travels that I would find it very hard to choose, but the ruins of the castle I walked around in Coucy-le-Château Auffrique on New Year’s Eve is the latest marvel on my long list.

  2. The Stonehenge we saw in England is a little more rugged looking than this one, which I’ve never heard about. It doesn’t rock my world though. Seeing you in that snappy red car does!

  3. What rocked my world most recently (in a good way) is learning my short story was accepted for an anthology on pioneer women. I’ve tried for years to write short stories and find them much more difficult than novels. The lesson: practice, practice, practice and never give up.

  4. That monument reminds me of a very moving memorial we found in Bastogne, Belgium, where we found, unexpectedly, older folks thanking us as Americans for coming to their rescue back in WWII. As a pacifist from baby up, it was eye opening, rocking my world at that time. Stonehenge I understand to be more of a mystically moving experience. But yes, interesting you found Maryhill and didn’t know anything about it.

  5. I have heard that phrase, way back in the day, but I cannot recall from whom. Rocking my world? Right now? My proximity to the ocean. The ocean is my soul soother and heart smiler.

  6. What an amazement! It would be fun to see it. I suspect Sam Hill’s builders had an easier process for building it than the ancient peoples. But remarkable it is anyway!

    My rocking moment recently was weather related. Ice covered everthing last week for a couple of days. I watched a tall (half its height extended over the top of the house) white birch tree across the street. I observed its long, moderately thick branches slowly bend over the hours, until one branch finally kissed the ground. A few days later, the ice was gone and the tree srands strong and straight again. Nature always rocks me!

  7. I love that expression, “What in the Sam Hill !?” It makes me think of gnarly, old prospectors peering down a mine shaft…thinking twice about going in to see what’s making all the noise down there… The Maryhill Stonehenge is pretty darn awesome, even in a photo. Having visited the mysterious Georgia Guidestones 4 times to puzzle over the monumental stones erected there, I have wondered many hours over the Who? and the Why? As for having my World rocked lately, I would be very happy for it quit rocking and settle on down.

  8. Wow ! Such a discovery , I’ve been to the original Stonehenge…magic.
    We had a trip out to Laughane ( West Wales) where Dylan Thomas wrote from a boat House. Laurie you would love it for your writing…so would I .

  9. Wow if I had known you could have come to dinner – in that little red car!!! My partner says Maryhill – Stonehenge is fairly new and since he left that area of the State!

      • He says his family must not have known about it? “oh really!” But then they all lived through the release of nuclear waste as they were growing in that area and all of them have huge health problems (MS and blindness huge) and so they can tell you mountains of information about Hanford!

  10. Rocks my world literally: my favorite band “Ok Go” is on tour and we got tickets for April!! Have you seen their videos? See “I Won’t Let You Down” for a good sample. : ) -Rebecca

  11. I’ve never heard of the American Stonehenge, Laurie, and think as a memorial, even more impressive than the novelty I first thought it might be! My world has been rocked by more rain than we’ve seen in years. I’m doing a happy dance. 🙂

  12. My world was rocked when I first saw the ‘real’ Stonehenge about 20 years ago (before they put up barriers and such. My guy and I arrived on a foggy misty late afternoon. We were almost the only ones there (a miracle in itself). I walked around the stones and felt a deep reverence, yes, but even more. I felt a huge deep PRESENCE within and around. I don’t tell too many people about this – sounds too whoo whoo to most. But I will never, ever forget that feeling.
    Never heard of Sam Hill’s Stonehenge. If I saw it, I’d probably proclaim, “What in the Sam Hill?” 🙂

  13. I had never heard of the Maryhill Stonehenge before your relevation of its existence here, Laurie! (Did you do any wine tasting while in the area?) Jack and I will need to make a visit there for sure as my Great Uncle, my dear Grandmother’s younger brother, Frederick, died during WWI while fighting on England’s side as a Canadian citizen. He was a pilot in the Royal Air Force who was shot down in enemy territory and never seen again. I have his Flight Logs, the telegram to my Great Grandparents notifying them of their son’s death, and a few personal letters written between him and his father which he originated from a far during his Duty. I have on display in our living room the Royal Cross presented to my Great Grandparents via the Canadian Minister of Militia & Defence in honor of Fred. Written on its accompanying card was the meaningful sentiment: “This Cross is presented to you in memory of one who in the Great War died for King and Country.” How easy it is for a writing by one to become a reminder of something else for another! Thank you for this opportunity to bring up such memories and emotion on my part! So on a lighter side, regarding your beginning quote as to “Sam”, I will invoke the words of Marilyn Monroe of so many, many years ago: “Ever Notice How ‘What The Hell’ Is Always The Right Answer?” 🙂

  14. The “Sam Hill” expression was also said by Scout in “To Kill A Mockingbird” to Dill. GREAT post here Laurie! Fascinating in every sense!

    What rocked my world? Ha! The first of my five children received their driver’s license this past week. Jillian (#4 at age 18) is now behind the wheel! I never goaded them to drive -quite the contrary- and I am a frightened parent.

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