The Truth Behind That Random Leg Statue South of Amarillo
You know you're curious.
Whether you've lived in Amarillo for years or are just passing through, you've definitely noticed "the legs." South of Amarillo on I-27, right after the Hollywood 16 movie theater, on the east side of the highway, there is a monument that is only more confusing the more you know about them.
The legs are actually called "Ozymandias," which is Greek for Ramesees. Ramesees II was an Egyptian pharaoh who was fond of putting up statues of himself.
Ozymandias was built by Lightnin' McDuff, a sculptor from Amarillo. And, no surprises here, he was hired to build the statue by Stanley Marsh 3.
Stanley Marsh 3 was, of course, famous for his eclectic style and commissioning famous Amarillo landmarks like the Cadillac Ranch.
So, what was the point of Ozymandias? That's hard to say, but the illusion is that the legs once belonged to a full-body statue of Ramesees II and that football players from Lubbock destroyed the statue in an act of rivalry. However, none of that is true. The statue was built just as it is today.
Even more interesting is the poem that inspired Ozymandias. Percy Shelley, husband of 'Frankenstein' writer Mary Shelley, wrote "Ozymandias" in 1818. Here is the original poem:
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said -- "two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert ... near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lips, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
Apparently, Marsh was inspired by this poem and wanted to erect "two vast and trunkless legs of stone" in the desert, which he did successfully.
Have you heard any urban legends about the Ozymandias legs? Comment below!