The Alternative Roadside Attraction: Cadillac Ranch

In 1974, Stanley Marsh 3 (a rich, eccentric heir to a whole lot of Texas oil money) hired Ant Farm, a San Francisco-based avant-garde architecture firm, to create a monument to “the Golden Age of Automobiles” (in Marsh’s opinion, vintage years from 1949 to 1963) on an old wheat field that he owned along the Route 66 side of his sprawling ranch land.

Ant Farm’s design concept was simple: half-bury several junkyard Cadillacs nose-first in Marsh’s wheat field in full view of passing Route 66 traffic, creating what they called the ultimate “white trash dream.” They scoured Texas auto dumps and found ten junker Cadillacs, all built within the Golden Age years 1949-1963. Ant Farm members then dug ten deep holes, all arranged in a line. They drove the Cadillacs into the ten holes nose-first and, thus, Cadillac Ranch was born.

Cadillac Ranch is kind of like the antithesis to the roadside attraction.  There is nothing corny, wholesome, or commercial about these vandalized dinosaurs.  The site is simply a random thing of beauty that has evolved in the midst of nothingness on the side of US 40, as each visitor leaves his or her mark on the decaying cars.

If you happen to be anywhere near Amarillo, Texas check out Cadillac Ranch yourself, just off of Interstate 40 between exits 60 and 62.

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