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Texas History

Double Exposure

Unexplained coincidence prompts photographer’s reunion with couple at Cadillac Ranch

When photographer Wyatt McSpadden left his studio in Austin for the long drive to photograph sites along Route 66 in the Texas Panhandle for the feature in this issue, he did something unexpected: He picked up a print from a table in his office and took it along. There was no reason, he just did it.

One of his stops along Route 66 was in the town of Vega, 35 miles west of Amarillo.

McSpadden noticed a ruggedly charming building bearing the name Milburn-Price Culture Museum. Inside, he met and struck up a conversation with Greg Conn, who had returned to his native Vega after a long career in facilities management and opened the museum in 2014.

One topic of conversation was Cadillac Ranch. McSpadden mentioned that he had been among those present at the installation’s dedication in 1974 and photographed the Cadillacs as they were planted nose-first all those years ago.

Conn then mentioned that his friends, Vega natives Marion and Jessie Kinsey, were at that same event and remembered having a photo taken. They had no idea how to get a print today.

“Wait just a minute,” McSpadden said, as he walked outside to his vehicle. He returned with the print he had decided to bring along when he left home.

What are the odds?

Naturally, they decided to restage the photo, on March 3, 2018, the Kinseys’ 67th wedding anniversary.

Of the thousands of people photographed with these famous Cadillacs, how many can make such a claim on the site’s history?

Charles Lohrmann is the Texas Co-op Power editor.