Stanley Marsh 3, the eccentric millionaire arts patron who stuck several Cadillacs nose first into the red dirt along I-40 near Amarillo and created the Cadillac Ranch, died today following a long illness. Marsh, who preferred to be called by the numeral '3', saying the Roman numeral 'III' after his given name was 'too pretentious,' was 76.
Born the heir of a fabulously rich Texas oil and cattle family, Marsh became one of the leading advocates for arts in the southwest, even opening an artists colony in his home, named Toad Hall...after the home in the classic Kenneth Grahame novel 'The Wind in the Willows.'
Marsh referred to himself as a 'Merry Prankster' after his friend Ken Kesey's performance art.. Marsh once funded an art project which consisted of placing hundreds of phony street signs around Amarillo.
Marsh owned a TV station in Amarillo for decades, and he painted the roof of the station green and installed two telephone poles and several gigantic colored balls, so people flying over Amarillo on the busy California to DFW air corridor would look down and see what appeared to be a pool table.
But it was the Cadillac Ranch which was Marsh's most enduring accomplishment.. Created by the Marsh funded project The Ant Farm, it consists of a line of Cadillacs buried nose first at an angle corresponding to the Great Pyramid at Giza. The ranch is one of the most familiar quirky landmarks in America, and is the subject of a Bruce Springsteen song.
Late in his life, Marsh was accused of sexually assaulting young boys, a charge he vehemently denied.
Marsh has been in and out of hospitals after suffering a stroke in 2011 and he died in an Amarillo hospice.