Route 66 #1

Route 66 #1
Route 66 Museum

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Saying Goodbye to the Creator of a Route 66 Landmark

The Cadillac Ranch isn't an original Route 66 landmark, but it is one today. It's one of the must see's on the way through Amarillo, and on the trip itself. 

If you have been a long time follower of this blog then you may remember I covered the Cadillac Ranch as part of one of my Kids Picks series ( some months back.

Today though June, 18th 2014 news came in that the Cadillac Ranch's creator Stanley Marsh 3, passed on. Marsh, was always known as a bit of a prankster, which is why his bazaar car sculpture was no surprise to residents of Amarillo, TX. But, Marsh whose money to finance such projects came from his families oil fortune, was always a somewhat controversial figure.

Below, is a quick obituary and article about Marsh's passing.  

Say what you want about Marsh himself, but the Cadillac Ranch to me is one of the truly defining landmarks on Route 66 today. Although the landmark was created to be pure kitsch, and a nod to both I-40, and Route 66, the sculpture does have a poignant nature to it. The now rusted and half buried Cadillacs where once beautiful and shining examples of the American Dream, material symbols for wealth and success, and the "I Have Arrived" mentality. It's an ideal that seems to match Route 66, and even the United States in the era those vehicles where created in. 

Today those Cadillacs, even back to when they where first buried, are like Route 66. Time has taken away the shiny paint, and chrome, and left a half buried rusted hulk. But, that hulk also like Route 66 survives and defies the elements literal and figurative that have taken its glitz and glamour and left it half buried. In a way it's what we as Americans are about we weather the storm(s) and defy what is thrown at us, and the graffiti painted on us will come and go, but we will remain. 

If you can't tell I have a soft spot in my heart for the Cadillac Ranch. It was a spot where my family and I where able to do some healing, after the loss of someone close to us a few years back. We partially took 66 on the way back home from California, and with a couple of cans of spray paint from a Home Depot down the road, we created an artistic memorial to the person we lost. It was even more fitting that this person always wanted to travel Route 66 but never got the chance. 

Love or hate Stanley Marsh 3, but what he gave the world in the way of the Cadillac Ranch won't be forgotten. 

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