The Henge by Herb Goldman, a peculiar outdoor structure akin to a reconstituted Stonehenge, announces Roswell as a robust arts scene facilitated by the late Donald B. Anderson.
A passthrough of Roswell won’t necessarily yield supreme tourist eye candy. A Main Street. The goliath alien statue outside a fast-food restaurant. A staggering volume of car dealerships for the far-flung southeastern New Mexico town of approximately 48,000 residents.
But get into the country-road weeds of the Chaves County seat, and one can be awed by The Henge (1963).
Donald B. Anderson commissioned Albuquerque artist Herb Goldman to create the massive, ancient-looking gunite concrete and steel structure—reminiscent of Stonehenge if the various stone formations were stacked and glued in abstract patterns—following Anderson’s visits to Middle Eastern ruins.
Anderson’s only condition for Goldman: he wanted to be able to see the three-story, 150-foot-long by 150-foot-wide structure, perched on a hill and ornamented with berms of green grass, while looking outside a window of his nearby northeast Roswell home.
The Henge gets more unhinged once inside.
The interior quarters, illuminated by natural sunshine from skylights, include pieces from Anderson’s art collection, a spiral staircase and catwalk that lead to an observation deck, a throne room, and an expansive trompe l’oeil mural by realist painter Willard Midgette depicting the Anderson family (and includes a Midgette self-portrait).
The Henge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located near the renowned Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, founded in 1967 by the late and beloved Anderson, an artist and oil businessman whose presence is still felt in the local close-knit artist community. The interior of and property access to The Henge is closed to the public, but a trip to Roswell—coupled with visits to the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art and the Roswell Museum—is a stepping stone to grasping a fuller contemporary art picture of New Mexico.