An Eccentric Texan

Texas has it’s share of eccentric millionaires, but there was one in my hometown who raised the bar for others…not just for his philanthropy, but because of the art work and creativeness he gave to our community even after his death.

Stanley March 3, notice not a Roman Numeral III. He said the III was way too pretentious for his liking.  He was well-known for his outrageous art projects. The one that earned him national notoriety is the 1970s Cadillac Ranch. If you’ve ever driven on Interstate 40 just west of Amarillo you can’t help but notice the Cadillacs planted nose-down in a field to the south of the highway. The trunks and tail-fins of these former gas guzzler’s extend above ground, like whale flukes that become visible just before the big mammals dive…all colorful and personalized by millions of travelers and locals.

Although Marsh had to move the project to stay clear of our urban sprawl, Cadillac Ranch is still open to the public. In fact, visitors are encouraged to participate in the project by spray-painting graffiti on the rusted hulks. Periodically, some are painted in a solid color, so new art work can be added by travelers. It’s a must see when visiting our area.

I can’t help but post a picture of my youngest grandson, who is now in high school, at the ranch in front of one of our famous tumbleweeds a/k/a Russian Thistle. This proves everything in Texas is bigger than life.

Another roadside sculpture closer to Amarillo on the Frying Pan Ranch, one of the original ranches in our area, commissioned by Marsh is the “Two vast and trunkless egs of stone”. It was inspired by the work of British poet Percy Shell, in his 1818 sonnet, Ozmandias. It consists of two legs–one 24 feet tall, the other 34 feet. Like Marsh’s Cadillac Ranch, this art project on their ranch is subject to the occasional gratuitous paint job, and the feet have been seen adorned with sports socks.

The third unique thing that Marsh added to our city are hundreds of bogus highway signs proclaiming surprise announcements or posting questions, such as “What is a village without village idiots?”. They showed up unexpectedly in people’s yards, as well as public places, although many are gone now. Marsh was quoted as saying, “Art is a legalized form of insanity, and I do it very well.”.

Do you have anyone in your own who is eccentric enough to leave their footprints all over the area?  I’d love to hear about them.

To two winners who leave a comment, I will give them an eBook of my latest Contemporary Romance Out of a Texas Night.

 

 

Phyliss
A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com
Updated: February 1, 2020 — 4:00 pm

32 Comments

  1. No eccentrics that I’m aware of.

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      Neat blog. I have seen the Cadillac’s but it was a very, very long time ago. I’ve never seen the stone legs that I recall. I lived in Hereford and Amarillo as a child and it seems like I should have seen them. Do you know when they were erected? Maybe I just don’t remember them. My MS has caused me to have a lot of blanks in my memory. Happy February, this year is flying by.

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        Oops that wasn’t supposed to appear as a comment on a comment. ?

      2. Hi Miss Stephanie, good to hear from you. I didn’t realize you lived here as a child. No wonder you understand our weather and the oddities of the Texas Panhandle like you do. I checked but couldn’t find out when the “legs” were erected, but I believe (only believe) it was after the Cadillac Ranch itself. I looked online and still couldn’t confirm the date, but I’ll keep trying. The ranch has grown. As I recall, he only put up six or so cars originally and there’s probably 15 plus there now. I hope one of these days you’ll be able to come visit us and see them. Hugs and I think we all understand when an illness gets in our way of things we want to do. Stick in there, girlfriend. Hugs, Phyliss

    2. Denise, good to hear from you. Not every town has as eccentric people who are open and people can visualize their work but some stay hidden for the future. I hope you have a great day and thanks for stopping by. Hugs, Phyliss

    3. Denise, for the life of me, I can’t seem to get my reply under your comment. I apologize but it’s below. I’ve done it twice. Sorry and thanks for understanding.

      1. No problem, as I said before, I’m having trouble getting comments where they go, but it’s me and my way of thinking today. Cold weather froze my brain, I’m afraid. Hugs, P

  2. Not that I’m aware of. The stones with sport socks is interesting. ? Thanks for the pictures.

    1. Hi Carol, good to hear from you. Isn’t the sport socks on the stones interesting? I’ve lived here all of my life and never knew the history behind them. I knew about them and of course had seen the legs, but didn’t know where he got the idea. Glad you enjoyed the pictures. Have a wonderful 2020! Hugs, Phyliss

  3. I don’t think we have anyone who is interesting enough to do anything like that in my town. I would love to travel to your area to see these interesting forms of art.

    1. Hi Janine, good to hear from you. I bet there are interesting people in your town, but not as audacious as Marsh. We have a ton of art in our area, so hope you’ll be able to come some day. If you do, be sure to let us know, so we can have lunch, if possible. Hugs to you and Happy 2020! Phyliss

  4. Boring here. Do have some philanthropy, just not eccentric.

    1. Hi Jerri Lynn, good to hear from you. Hey, I’ll take philanthropy over eccentric any day. I know people enjoy art and appreciate it, but philanthropy touches so many lives who are in need, so I’ll go that way any day, if I had to make a choice. Have a wonderful 2020! Hugs, Phyliss

  5. not anything that I know of art wise – my hometown is famous for the buzzbomb on the court house square!

    1. Hi Teresa, good to hear from you. A Buzzbomb??? Interesting, I’m not familiar with one, so you’ll have to fill me in. Sounds very, very interesting. Have a wonderful day and fantastic 2020! Hugs, Phyliss

  6. Wow this was an amazing blog. I have been to the famous Cadillac Ranch, but not the Stone Legs
    I guess I need to make another trip down y’all’s way plus see you, Linda, and Jodi. Love you Phyliss, thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Tonya good to hear from you. The legs are on their ranch land about 15 miles west of Amarillo, to the north of I-40, so they aren’t easily seen from the highway…not like the Cadillac Ranch is. Now you hurry up on that trip. We’ll have lunch waiting for you. Take care and glad you like the blog. Love you, too. P

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    nice pictures,I have seen the car one on the internet. I will be going to TX, in october, and we are going to see some of the art museums ,and other museums as well. its a plan in progress

    1. Hi Elaine, so good to hear from you. Lots of folks know about the Cadillac Ranch through the Internet. It’s pretty popular and with the traffic across I-40 (almost from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans) tons of people have seen the ranch. I hope you spend some time in our area when you come in October. We have lots to see and of course northeast of us is Santa Fe and Taos in NM which have tons of art and museums. Have a wonderful 2020! Hugs, P

  8. I have an aunt that is eccentric and if she so chose she very well could leave eccentric artwork for she can paint awesome pics. she’s 81 and still dresses like she’s in her teens or early 20s and she can pull it off great for she seriously only looks like she’s in maybe her 40-50s She is so spunky and Lol can out cuss a sailor. I love her so much she is absolutely my favorite aunt she is so much fun to be around

    1. Oh Glenda, how wonderful to have such a fantastic aunt. She sounds so interesting and to be an artist to boot. I bet you’re right about her pulling off anything she wants. I the book I’m writing now (Sylvie’s story from my other Kasota Springs Romances), she is caught up in the 70’s look but now that Classic Chic is back in still, she’s cool with it. I like it too, and bet your aunt is someone very interesting to talk with. Cussing like a sailor, sounds familiar! I think it ran in my family, or at least Mama! Take care and true blessings to you and your aunt. Such wonderful memories! Love it and love you, friend. P

  9. I am not aware of any, but I shall be on the look out.

    1. Hi Debra, so good to hear from you. Yep, keep a watch out for anybody eccentric around you. Bet you’ve got one or two you didn’t even think about. Have a wonderful 2020! Hugs, Phyliss

  10. No eccentrics in my sphere! Years ago I visited Cadillac Ranch. It’s fascinating.

    1. Hi Caryl, thanks for stopping by. Bet you know someone eccentric, although not like the man I wrote about. I’m glad you got to visit the Cadillac Ranch. It changes so frequently, particularly in the summer where there are more travelers. I love it. Take care and hope you have a wonderful 2020! Hugs, Phyliss

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    Neat blog. I have seen the Cadillac’s but it was a very, very long time ago. I’ve never seen the stone legs that I recall. I lived in Hereford and Amarillo as a child and it seems like I should have seen them. Do you know when they were erected? Maybe I just don’t remember them. My MS has caused me to have a lot of blanks in my memory. Happy February, this year is flying by. I have a couple of great artists is my family. My step-son could easily do some eccentric pieces in his future. In the past year or so he has actually gotten to where he can live off of his art. He’s quite an amazing artist.

  12. Hi Stephanie, thanks for coming back and writing more. I agree 2020 is flying by, especially when we’re already thinking about Valentine’s and Ground Hog Day has passed us by. I have some artists in my family, too. Your step-son sounds interesting. Maybe he’ll try his wings one of these days. He sounds amazing, especially to live off his art. He must be truly talented. Take care and have a blessed 2020! Hugs, P

  13. I have seen the Cadillac Ranch but not Marsh’s other art works. We don’t have eccentric artists in our town but we have a number of metal sculptures made by local farmer-artists in their shops depicting local historical figures—–the contractor who built our Carnegie Library, a photographer who took pictures of each grade school class from the 1940’s to the late 1980’s, a pioneer woman holding a child, the doctor in his buggy, and more. They are located all over town.

  14. We don’t have any eccentric artists that I’m aware of, though there used to be one in GA that we have some things by. Now, he’s not known as “eccentric” and his art work is pretty expensive. It’s even on some old rock albums, as different groups like his work!

    1. Hi Trudy, good to hear from you. I love the guy from GA and his work. I might have a pix of his work on “old rock albums” … LOL! I’m that old. Thanks for dropping by and reading my blog. Take care and hugs, Phyliss

  15. Hi Alice, good to hear from you. I love metal sculptures and can only imagine how great they are. And the pictures over so any decades sounds wonderful. Just the thoughts of a pioneer woman holding a child makes me happy. Thank you for sharing. May you have a beautiful 2020! Hugs, Phyliss

  16. Thanks for an interesting post. We have driven through Amarillo 2 or 3 times on I-40 and never noticed a sign for the Cadillac Ranch. Too bad, it is something we have wanted to see. If and when we get out that way again, I will know where to look for it. I do remember seeing a sign or two that didn’t quite look official. What an interesting man Mr. Stanley March 3 is. He certainly has a sense of humor. Nice to have the money to indulge in your whims and flights of fancy.

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