Airstream Ranch

UPDATE (February 2017):  The Airstream Ranch that was along I-4 in Central Florida is gone now. It was demolished on February 9th, 2017 to make way for a new RV dealership.  A little more info is in this post:

I don’t remember when I first noticed the display of seven and a half upended 1957-1994 vintage Airstream travel trailers planted in a field on the south side of Interstate 4 east of Tampa, Florida (near exit 14).  I do remember thinking it begged to be photographed.

Fellow Photography Interest Group member Tom M. thought so too, so we stopped on the way back from Tampa this week.

Airstream Ranch
Tom contemplates art: The south-east side of the “ranch”

Frank Bates created the Airstream Ranch in 2007, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Airstream (hence 7 1/2 trailers) and paying homage to the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.  It’s been controversial and neighbors didn’t especially like it.  The dispute eventually ended up in court with Mr. Bates prevailing.  The court didn’t say it’s a work of art, but they did rule there’s no evidence it “created a nuisance, was a commercial sign or constituted an open storage of the vehicles.”

Airstream Ranch B&W
Airstream Ranch B&W

This turned out to be a difficult photographic assignment, especially since we were there in the middle of the day and the light was harsh.  How could we interpret someone else’s “art”?  How could we take something that’s been photographed so many times and do anything unique?  Who knows?  Who cares?  I do know I enjoyed stopping and finally getting to see this up close, instead of glancing at it from the highway as we zoomed by.

Airstream Ranch
Side view from the I-4 side

If you go, don’t stop on I-4 – it could be dangerous!  Instead take Exit 14 and go past the McDonalds, then take a right on US 92.  The next right is Castlewood Rd. and it winds around behind the field where you can park on the side and walk a short distance to the trailers.

Is this display artwork?  Junk? An advertisement?  A nuisance?   Me –  I think it’s outstanding in the field.  And great fun!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

5 thoughts on “Airstream Ranch

  1. Just testing the comment box again – this time using Internet Explorer as the browser, in case aol makes a difference. Still smiling at the images!

  2. Hi Ed,
    Thanks for providing the detailed instructions on how to get to the site! I tried photographing this last year but thought I had to get to the Airstreams thru the adjacent trailerpark (they wouldn’t allow me access). Your info will let me have another chance at this shot this year. Thanks again!
    Jeff Stamer

    PS: I got a chance to photograph the Manatees over in Crystal River last month, take a peak!

    1. Hey Jeff,

      Nice to hear from you. The Airstream Ranch is great fun – I enjoyed stopping there.

      I visited your blog post on photographing Manatees – great info and great photos!


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