Ever wonder where this phrase came from, “what in the Sam Hill?” Sam Hill was an American entrepreneur and a Quaker who made his fortune designing and building roads. He decided to spend his fortune building a town on the Columbia River named Maryhill. His dream was to build a Utopian Quaker community. Although, he built a town, he never managed to attract any other Quakers to live there. He built a Quaker Church, Post Office, Store, Blacksmith etc… Due to the remoteness and the lack of proper irrigation the town was eventually abandoned and the Maryhill Land Company which he had named after his wife failed.
In 1918 Sam Hill tore down the Inn he had previously built for the town and built a full sized replica of Stonehenge over looking the Columbia River. This replica was built as a memorial to World War I soldiers. Today there is another monument opposite the Stonehenge replica that is a memorial to soldiers lost in subsequent wars.
Sam Hill believed that the original Stonehenge had been built for human sacrifice when he built the replica. Since, then Anthropologist have come to believe that Stonehenge was actually used for astronomy purposes.
In 1926 Sam Hill dedicated his mansion in Maryhill to become a museum. It still exists today and contains a large collection of fine art. The museum was dedicated by Queen Marie of Romania, a close friend of Sam Hill. The facility opened to the Public in 1940, nine years after Sam Hill’s death.
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As you can see Sam Hill was known for his crazy ideas. It’s easy to understand why people use the phrase, “What in the Sam Hill?”
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