Amarillo is a town that’s got more going on than any town its size has any right to. You don’t need to get too deep into Amarillo to know that its famous for Cadillac Ranch, the Big Texan Steak Ranch, its location along Route 66, and for being the gateway to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, among other things. But if you take some time to really get into the town and explore its back roads, you’ll start to notice even more. Like the strange, mysterious, and often confounding roadsides that appear on corners and line streets all over the community.
The strange signs are part of an art installation called The Dynamite Museum. Partially funded by oil heir and patron of offbeat art Stanley Marsh 3 (most famous for his work with Ant Farm on Cadillac Ranch), there are even a few in the nearby town of Adrian (it’s said that Marsh liked the idea of putting the signs in towns that started with the letter A). There was no rhyme or reason to the messages on the signs; the people behind the project would come up with ideas, or vote on suggestions sent in, and then install their favorites all over town.
There must have been dozens and dozens of signs at the peak, but the town started to have mixed feelings about them around 2013, when the sexual abuse scandal in which Marsh 3 had been embroiled ended with his indicted by a Texas grand jury for an alleged assault on two teenage boys. Some of the Dynamite Museum signs were even taken down or painted over.
Marsh 3 died in 2014, and new signs haven’t been installed for awhile, but there are still plenty to discover around town… if you know where to look. A lot of signs are worse for the wear, but that adds something a little extra to the experience of discovering them… it’s a bit like finding treasure. (Although, for the record, if you want the inside scoop on where to find these signs, our pal @maddoggrape on Instagram offers tours!)
More oddities to discover…