I have to admit, I have never given Stamford, Texas much thought. Matter of fact, I had never given it any thought, until one afternoon about a year ago when we were returning home from my grandmother’s house in Marfa, Texas.
There it was, visible from U.S. Highway 277, truck beds buried in the dirt, similar to the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo.
The sculpture, known as Bedlam, was created by none other than the Mayor of Stamford, Johnny Anders. In addition to his civic duties, he is the third generation owner of an auto repair and body shop; the unused parts from his business are the building blocks of his creations.
Bedlam is comprised of twelve truck beds buried in the ground. Anders’ initial vision for Bedlam was a sundial. Unsuccessful at completing this aspect of the project, he assembled a metal cross from chrome wheels, shifting the sentiment from “time” to “God Bless Texas.”
The purpose of his sculptures are twofold. Pure enjoyment, for both the small community of nearly 3400 and himself, is his primary motivation. Various pieces of his work are scattered throughout the town, and have been well received.
Promoting tourism, even at the smallest level, also plays an important role. Like us, there are many folks driving this stretch of highway, folks that might be curious enough to stop and walk around, leave a painted design, and then perhaps decide to spend a few dollars for gas or a cold drink. Those few dollars can add up quickly, bringing much needed revenue into the city.
On the subject of painting, just like the Cadillac Ranch, visitors and residents are encouraged to engage in self expression. In fact, tagging of buildings in the community has sharply declined since the inception of Bedlam!
Stopping in Stamford for this unique way to stretch our legs was a fantastic decision. I’ll have to remember to pack a can of spray paint the next time we drive to Grandma’s!