Cadillac Ranch off Historic Route 66
If you’re ever in the West Texas area and would love to see something odd but yet historically interesting then you should check out the Cadillac Ranch. It’s located west of Amarillo on old Route 66, south of I-40 between exits 60 and 62. And don’t forget your Sharpie or spray paint as this is one art sculpture you can leave your mark on.
Built along the tattered remains of historic Route 66, the cars were meant to represent the “Golden Age” of American automobiles. Most of the cars were purchased from junk yards, and averaged about $200. The cars were then buried nose-down, facing west along the old highway. Those that could run, were driven into the half-burial holes, the rest were hoisted in. In 1974 the project was completed and in no time at all, visitors began to come from all over the world, leaving their mark on the ever-thickening graffiti covered cars.
At first, the cars displayed their original paint jobs – turquoise, banana yellow, gold, and sky blue, but barely was the monument complete, when people were scratching or painting their names in the cars. Over time, vandals and souvenir hounds smashed the windows, made off with all the chrome, radios, speakers and even some of the doors. The wheels have since been welded to the axles to prevent more theft. However, Marsh still says “We think it looks better every year.”
In 1997, the Cadillac Ranch was exhumed and replanted about two miles to the west, in order to escape the encroaching city of Amarillo. Under Marsh’s orders, even the old site’s trash and clutter was gathered from the old location and spread around the new location. Otherwise the monument remains the same (and, ever changing) since it was erected.
This monument was built as a public sculpture and visitors are encouraged to participate in it. So, it’s ok if you take your can of Krylon with you, leaving your name or an inspiring message, which will, no doubt, be erased by another message soon. Photographs may be taken at the site, however, any commercial exploitation in advertising or product promotion is expressly prohibited without written permission from the artists. The Cadillac Ranch has appeared on numerous TV shows, magazines, and newspaper accounts. [Legends of America]
Cadillac’s are big part of American history and this is one very unique and interesting way of preserving just a part of it. What are some other unique ways to preserve some Cadillac history?