The West Texas farmer’s wife said it as kind of a joke — when her husband Orville Ladehoff didn’t know what he was going to do with a broken-down old combine, she said “why don’t you just bury it.”
That was the spark that ignited the farmer’s crazy idea — not to bury, but to “plant” combine harvesters on his two-acre plot of land along Claude Highway just south of Amarillo. And just 14 combines later, Orville had himself a Combine City.
Ladehoff has occasionally been called a “combine junkie,” but a combine harvester is maybe the Cadillac of farm equipment — so who can blame him? They cut down, separate out, and clean up grain all at once, in one machine, no tractor necessary. Pretty slick, and pretty nice looking to boot. Maybe that’s why Ladehoff just couldn’t part with his beauties once they had outlived their usefulness. Instead, like the nearby (and more famous) Cadillac Ranch up the road in Amarillo, Ladehoff planted his outdated combines, noses in and blades up.
Unlike at the Cadillac Ranch, you can’t wander among the combines or paint them. Some simple barbed wire keeps would-be graffiti artists from tagging the old workhorses. But there they are, right along the road, easy to see. Another good reason, if you find yourself in Amarillo, to wander just a little bit off the old Route 66.
Know Before You Go
North side of Hwy 1151 (Claude Highway) about halfway between Lake Tanglewood and Claude, Texas.