An aristocracy of roadside attractions has been raised over the years: glorified in photo essays, calendars, blogs, and social media fiefdoms; spotlighted in video and film; instantly recognizable as icons. These Great Monuments, we are told, represent America’s hopes and dreams, art and commerce, materialism and spiritualism, folly and fame. Cadillac Ranch is one of them. Professional authors and screenwriters know a pre-baked, easy-to-get symbol when they see it. Who are we to buck the trend?
Standing along Route 66 west of Amarillo, Texas, Cadillac Ranch was invented and built by a group of art-hippies imported from San Francisco. They called themselves The Ant Farm, and their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh 3. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marsh 3’s fields, then half-buried, nose-down, in the dirt (supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza). They faced west in a line, from the 1949 Club Sedan to the 1963 Sedan de Ville, their tail fins held high for all to see on the empty Texas panhandle… read more >