Monday, July 26, 2010

Cadillacs and Top Hats

I am cheating again by reposting one of my older My Town Monday posts about one of Amarillo's most colorful characters.

Monday, March 3, 2008
My Town Monday -- Eye of The Beholder

It's not a bird .. nor a plane. It's not Superman, or even a flying beagle. Nope, the above picture is your average, everyday floating mesa.

At least that is what it is supposed to look like. Actually it's just a mesa with a white fence built around the top. As you can see in this shot taken a bit closer.

Stanly Marsh the 3rd is the man behind this structure and several oddities near, and in, my hometown, of Amarillo, Texas. And yes, I used the numerical version of three on purpose. Stanly has been quoted as saying anyone with a roman numeral after their name is just being pretentious.

Stanly is a man of wealth. His grandfather was one of the early oil and natural gas man of the Texas Panhandle. I'm not exactly sure how old he is but I'd guess upper sixties or early seventies. Here is a picture I found at this site commemorating the 20th anniversary of Sir Stanley's best known project. He's the one in the top hat.

The copyright to this photo owned by ©1995-1996-1997-1998 Rik Gruwez, but luckily he doesn't mind sharing.

And here are some shots of that project.

This is the view from I-40 of Cadillac Ranch.

Created in a wheat field back in 1974 this roadside attraction has long been associated with Amarillo. It is one of the things I'm often asked about when traveling. The cars, all Cadillacs ranging in year models from 1949-1963 are buried intact nose down. They are located on private land (owned by Mr. Marsh but the public is encouraged to walk out and even spray graffiti on the vehicles.) Cadillac Ranch has been the subject of songs by Bruce Springsteen, Chris Ledoux, numerous Texas artists, and the Christian rock band Family Force 5.

It has also been featured in commercial and many movies. Most recently in the Disney Movie Cars. Notice the scenery in and around Radiator Springs and the description on the map which says Cadillac Range. This part of I-40 used to be Route 66 so if you've seen the movie you know why it was used.

Stanley has many other projects and I was going to include some of them in this post, but I think I'll wait and break this down into two parts since it is already getting on the long side. But here are a few teaser pics. I'll explain them and post more shots next Monday.

I will say not everyone in Amarillo has a high opinion of Stanley, his pranks, or art. But I tend to think every town should have a Stanley Marsh the 3rd if for no other reason than to keep things interesting. He's not one to care what others think as is clear by this quote.

"Art is a legalized form of insanity, and I do it very well." ~ Stanley Marsh 3

For other My Town Monday Posts from all over the globe please check out the official My Town Monday blog or the Women of Mystery site, where this week's host, Clare Toohey, will list links. We'd also love to have you join us so if you feel inclined drop Clare a note at either location.


Charles Gramlich said...

I remember you talking about this guy. Gotta love some of this stuff.

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow!! What an excellent character!!! We like Stanly Marsh the 3rd, yes we do!! Long may his individuality and uniqueness live on! And that's cos he allows access to his type of art. Does he design these pieces himself exclusively or collaborates or gets other artists involved?

Bless his eccentric expressive self!

Take care

A. K. said...

Amazing pictures.. Hey, have a great week ahead. Mine started with a massive traffic jam!

Coloradocasters said...

I could give Stanly a run for his money in the crazy idea department...(sigh) if I only had the money. Rich people are eccentric and the rest of just seem crazy.

One of my goals is to visit Cadillac Ranch some day. Great post even if a re-run.

Teenage Bride said...

great photos! I am happy you decided to post them again. I was pretty confused about the floating messa until I read the caption lol

Gabriele Goldstone said...

You're so right - we do need people like Stanly Marsh the 3rd. When's the movie coming out?

Barbara Martin said...

To think they used to incarcerate free thinkers once upon a time. Freedom of expression even if its quirky.

My post is up this week.

Rick said...

What a wonderfully eccentric guy! Every town should have people like him to keep us all from sinking into mediocrity.

Phats said...

These are always cool posts I like learning about everyone's towns and yours!! :)

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