Amarillo - The Yellow Rose of Texas
Welcome to Amarillo, "The Yellow Rose of Texas". Originally known as Oneida, our city was later named Amarillo, we believe it was because of the yellow wildflowers that were plentiful the spring and summer or the nearby Amarillo Lake and Amarillo Creek. In April 1887, J. T. Berry established a site for a town after he chose a well-watered section along the way of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad, which had begun building across the Texas Panhandle. Berry and Colorado City, Texas merchants wanted to make their new town site the region's main trading center. On August 30, 1887, Berry's town site won the county seat election and was established in Potter County. Availability of the railroad and freight service after the county seat election made the town a fast growing cattle marketing center.
On June 19, 1888, Henry B. Sanborn, who is given credit as the "Father of Amarillo," and his business partner Joseph F. Glidden began buying land to the east to move Amarillo after arguing that Berry's site was on low ground and would flood during rainstorms. Sanborn also offered to trade lots in the new location to businesses in the original city's site and help with the expense of moving to new buildings. His incentives gradually won the people over and their businesses were moved to Polk Street in the new commercial district. As predicted, heavy rains almost flooded Berry's part of the town in 1889, prompting more people to move to Sanborn's location.
By the late 1890s, Amarillo had emerged as one of the world's busiest cattle shipping points, and its population grew significantly. By the 1930s, however, the city was hit by the Dust Bowl and entered an economic depression. The merging of Routes 60, 87, 287, and 66 at Amarillo allowed it to become a major tourist stop with numerous motels, restaurants, and curio shops. Amarillo's historic homes and buildings reflect the economic growth from around 1900 to the start of World War II. You can see man of them on Polk street. The large historic homes on this street were built close to downtown, and homes were located on the west side of the street as a symbol of status because they would be greeted with the sunrise every morning.
The Amarillo area has a number of natural attractions located near the city. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park, One of our nation's most magnificent natural attractions, is the "Grand Canyon of Texas"and is located south of Amarillo. Palo Duro has a distinct hoodoo that resembles a lighthouse that is a sight to see. Another natural landmark near the city, the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, located just 30 miles north of Amarillo, is Texas' only National Monument, the site where prehistoric inhabitants obtained flint in order to make tools and weapons.
Close to home an on the eclectic side, the Cadillac Ranch is an artistic adventure. Located west of Amarillo on Interstate 40, it is the brain-child of local millionaire Stanley Marsh III, who has funded many public art projects in the city including the Cadillac Ranch, a monument of painted Cadillac automobiles that were dug into the ground head first. Marsh also participates in on-going art project called the Dynamite Museum, which consist of thousands of mock traffic signs. These signs, bearing messages such as "Road does not end" or displaying a random picture, can be seen scattered throughout the city of Amarillo.
Art is a big part of Amarillo, some of which can be seen throughout our city. The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and the Center City of Amarillo co-sponsors the a special project called "Hoof Prints of the American Quarter Horse" which consists of horse statues located in front of several Amarillo businesses, educational and museum sights that have been painted by artists for all to enjoy. In addition, you will be thrilled at both the architecture and the offerings at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts. Opened in 2006, the center houses the Amarillo Opera, Amarillo Symphony, and Lone Star Ballet concerts. In the Palo Duro Canyon's amphitheatre, an outdoor musical called Texas plays nightly during the summer. The musical depicts a story about the history of Texas Panhandle settlers throughout the years.
Several museums are located in the area, including the Don Harrington Discovery Center, an interactive science center and space theater with over 60 hands-on exhibits, and the Kwahadi Kiva Indian Museum The Kwahadi Kiva Indian Museum features a collection of Native American artifacts and provides dance performances.
Come and drive the unique streets of Amarillo, many of which are still paved in brick, just as they were back in 1910, and experience "The Yellow Rose of Texas" for yourself.