Cadillac Ranch

Just off Highway 66 in Amarillo Texas stands an iconic monument. We didn’t go looking for it when we found it, in fact we had no idea it was there. We were just driving through and happened to notice a tour bus and a line of cars parked to the side of an access road parallel to the highway. What’s going on? What are they looking at? Shall we go take a look? Willow raised her head up off the seat and gave me a quizzical look which I took to mean “What are you talking about? What are we missing? Are there squirrels?” We turned off at the next exit and back tracked towards the crowds gathered near an empty field as far as we could tell.

By the time we pulled up the tour bus had thankfully departed and there were only a few cars and their occupants remaining. Once we found a parking spot and could pay attention to the field and not the road I immediately knew what we had found.

The Iconic Silhouette of the line of cadillacs
The Iconic Silhouette

It had recently rained and so there were puddles of mud surrounding some of the cars. Keeping Willow out of muddy puddles is a sucker’s bet and so I just let her do her thing knowing that soon I would have to rinse off her paws and much of the rest of her before she would be allowed back into the Tacoma. That’s okay, it’s S.O.P with a Dirt Dog.

mud surrounding some of the cadillacs
We Had to Step Carefully

Willow ran around giving everyone and everything a quick sniff to see if there were, perhaps, anyone hiding some familial squirrel DNA.

Willow running around the cadillacs and ignoring the art
Willow Has No Taste When It Comes to Art

A quick web search told us a bit about the history of this piece of truly American art. Designed and “planted” in 1974 for Amarillo-born millionaire Stanley Marsh 3. Ten cars. All obviously from Cadillac. The oldest a 1949, the newest a 1964. All as an homage to the Cadillac tail fin as ’49 was the first year there was a tail fin on a Cadillac, and the last year was a ’64. Supposedly at the same angle as sides of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Something having to do with the Pythagorean theorem.Members of the Ant Farm alternative architecture and media collective designed the installation carefully enough that they even drew blueprints up.

The cars were originally in another field. They were moved in 1997 from the original location to a similar location about two miles to the west. More tidbits can be gleaned from:

Cadillacs in need of some fresh grafitti
We Would Have Brought Rattle Cans Had We Known
Willow trotting around the Cadillacs looking for squirrels
Squirrels Would Have Been More of a Draw For The Girl

Since we were headed somewhere else and had a schedule to keep we limited our stay just long enough to get a few pictures and let Willow play Chemical Warfare (overmarking the scents of other dogs) a few times in the field surrounding the installation. We’re glad we saw the crowds and were in enough of an inquisitive mood to go find out what they were looking at or else we would have completely missed this find.

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