By Gabi Garrett
Creativity is a wild mind and disciplined eye,” said Dorothy Parker.
Among the wild minds and disciplined eyes lives George Barber, an Alabama success story who created his own unique roadside attractions in Elberta, just an hour’s scenic, forest-filled drive from the Mobile Bay area.
After researching Mr. Barber, you’ll find the list of his accomplishments is lengthy and diverse. His resume reads: previous race car driver, real estate developer and chairman of Barber Dairies. In 2003, he expanded to Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, near Birmingham. His ventures have gained him millionaire status.
Barber has also held a Guinness World Record for owning more than 1,400 motorcycles, covering vintage styles up to modern-day. This landed him in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2014.
The top of his list of unique life accomplishments includes the commission of an artist and entertainer, Mark Cline, to create life-size dinosaur sculptures, which now live in the woods in Elberta. The dinosaurs are paired with a replica of Stonehenge, lovingly named “Bamahenge.” To complete the trio, at Barber Marina you’ll find a large woman named “Lady in the Lake” who sits in the water by the pier.
Today, visitors often find out about these neat roadside attractions from a) urban legend or b) a man named Michael Fillers, who loved the attractions so much he created a Facebook group.
Fillers created the page with information, including specific addresses and directions to help others spend a fun day in Elberta. After learning he would travel to the area for a sausage festival, he found these neat attractions and felt he had to let fellow tourists, and Alabama residents, know about the hidden treasures. Fillers also added the details to his blog.
“It’s funny, because I get calls all the time asking me ‘Can I have a birthday party at Bamahenge?’” Fillers said. He directs questions to the Barber Marina, but when we asked about the real story behind the man who put these roadside phenomena in the Elberta woods, he responded, “No one knows.”
As luck would have it, all three of these unique attractions are in driving distance of each other.
If your future plans don’t include seeing one of the seven wonders of the world — Stonehenge — don’t fret, you have Bamahenge in your backyard. Just 200 yards off the main road, through the clearing of the forest, you’ll find a real lifesize replica of Stonehenge. There is a small description plaque that talks about the summer and winter solstice significance, but of course, nothing about the unique ownership and the “why” behind this construction. This makes Bamahenge almost as much of an enigma as Stonehenge.
Each stone is 21 feet tall and 104 feet across, as close to identical to the original as possible. It was designed to be storm proof by Mark Cline.
Lady in the Lake
She’s a seasonal lady, so keep an eye out for her return come springtime. This is an approximately 50-foot woman sitting in the Barber Marina, though if she stood she’d be 108 feet tall. Barber purchased her from Cline, who had mixed reviews of his art piece from other interested buyers. She can now be viewed by all tourists, instead of belonging to just one collector.
Just past Bamahenge, you’ll see a T. rex poking his head through the trees. You have to peer closely into the woods or you’ll miss all four. The fun of this trip is the hunt. Take a photo and share with your friends that Alabama isn’t just about hunting and fishing, we have dinosaurs in the woods, too, you know.
Want to see the magic for yourself?
As with all great roadside urban legends, there will be no “real address.” Head toward Barber Marina in Elberta, on Barber Parkway. You may see fellow adventure seekers parked alongside the woodsy road, and this is where you’ll see Bamahenge. Directly down the road you’ll see dinosaurs peaking through. To visit the lady in the lake, head to Barber Marina.