Amarillo, Texas

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City of Amarillo
settlement_type = City

imagesize =
image_caption =


mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location within the state of Texas

mapsize1 = 250px
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = Texas
subdivision_type2 = Counties
subdivision_name2 = Potter, Randall
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Debra McCartt
established_date =
area_magnitude = 1 E9
area_total_km2 = 233.9
area_total_sq_mi = 90.3
area_land_km2 = 232.7
area_land_sq_mi = 89.8
area_water_km2 = 1.2
area_water_sq_mi = 0.5
population_as_of = 2008
population_metro = 236113
population_total = 188413
population_density_km2 = 782.5
population_density_sq_mi = 2026.8
timezone = CST
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
latd = 35 |latm = 11 |lats = 57 |latNS = N
longd = 101 |longm = 50 |longs = 43 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 1099
elevation_ft = 3605
website =
postal_code_type =
postal_code =
area_code = 806
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 48-03000GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 1351066GR|3
footnotes =

Amarillo is the 12th-largest city in the U.S. state of Texas and the 118th Largest City In The U.S. and the seat of Potter County. [cite web | author =Texas State Library / U.S. Census Bureau | url = | title = 2000 Census: Population of Texas Cities | accessdate = 2006-11-22] A portion of the city, the biggest in the Texas Panhandle, extends into Randall County. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the city had a total population of 173,627 (though a July 1, 2007 estimate placed the city's population at 187,106). The Amarillo metropolitan area, however, has an estimated population of 236,113 in four counties.By 2010 The city's population is expected to be 200,000. [cite web | author =Wilkerson, Brian | url = | title = Amarillo nearing population milestone of 200,000 | accessdate = 2008-01-10]

Amarillo was originally named Oneida and it is situated in the Llano Estacado region.Rathjen, Fredrick W. "The Texas Panhandle Frontier" (1973). pg. 11. The University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-78007-9.] The availability of the railroad and freight service provided by the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad contributed the city's growth as a cattle marketing center in the late 19th century.Handbook of Texas|id=AA/hda2|name=Amarillo. Retrieved on 2007-01-25.] Amarillo is the regional economic center for the Texas Panhandle as well as Eastern New Mexico and the Oklahoma Panhandle.cite web | author = United States Department of Transportation | url = | title = Economic Development History of Interstate 27 in Texas | accessdate = 2006-05-04]

The city was once the self-proclaimed "Helium Capital of the World" for having one of the country's most productive helium fields. [cite web | publisher=Wired | title=A Helium Shortage? | url=| month=August | year=2000 | accessdate=4 February | accessyear=2007] The city is also known as "The Yellow Rose of Texas" (as the city takes its name from the Spanish word for yellow, Also crowned "Beef City" by Amarillo group "Lockjaw" for the city's growth as a cattle marketing center in the late 19th century.Handbook of Texas|id=AA/hda2|name=Amarillo] . and former beef industry IBP now owned by Tyson Foods and most recently "Rotor City, USA" for its V-22 Osprey hybrid aircraft assembly plant. [cite web | author = Amarillo Economic Development Corporation | url = | title = What Is Rotor City, USA | accessdate = 2006-01-28] Amarillo operates one of the largest meat packing areas in the United States. Pantex, the only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility in the country, is also a major employer. The attractions Cadillac Ranch and Big Texan Steak Ranch were located on the former U.S. Highway 66, which passes through the city.


Large ranches exist in the Amarillo area: among others, the defunct XIT Ranch and the still functioning JA Ranch founded in 1877 by Charles Goodnight and John George Adair. Goodnight continued the partnership for a time after Adair's death with Adair's widow, Cornelia Wadsworth Ritchie Adair, who was then the sole owner from 1887 until her death in 1921.

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.

The settlement originally was called Oneida; it would later change its name to Amarillo. Amarillo's name probably derives from yellow wildflowers that were plentiful during the spring and summer or the nearby Amarillo Lake and Amarillo Creek, named in turn for the yellow soil along their banks and shores ("Amarillo" is the Spanish word for the color "yellow"). Despite having a name of Spanish origin, Amarillo's name is pronounced in English as "Am-ah-RILL-oh" rather than "Ah-mah-REE-yoh". Early residents pronounced it according to the Spanish pronunciation, but within a year, the English pronunciation prevailed. Charles F. Rudolph, editor of the "Tascosa Pioneer", predicted the pronunciation change after blaming Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad employees for ignoring the word's Spanish pronunciation. [Hammond, Clara T., comp. "Amarillo" (1974). pg. 6. George Autry, Printer, Amarillo, Texas.]

On June 19, 1888, Henry B. Sanborn, who is given credit as the "Father of Amarillo," [cite news |author=Everett, Liz |title=History Makers of the High Plains: H.B. Sanborn |date=May 19, 2000 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url= |accessdate = 2007-01-25] 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 over people, who moved their businesses to Polk Street in the new commercial district. [cite news |author=Crawford, Jim |title=A town determined to survive |date=July 23, 2006 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url= |accessdate = 2007-01-27] Heavy rains almost flooded Berry’s part of the town in 1889, prompting more people to move to Sanborn's location. This eventually led to another county seat election making Sanborn's town the new county seat in 1893.

By the late 1890s, Amarillo had emerged as one of the world's busiest cattle shipping points, and its population grew significantly. The city became an elevator, milling, and feed-manufacturing center after an increase in production of wheat and small grains during the early 1900s. Discovery of gas in 1918 and oil three years later brought oil and gas companies to the Amarillo area. The United States government bought the Cliffside Gas Field with high helium content in 1927 and the Federal Bureau of Mines began operating the Amarillo Helium Plant two years later. [cite news |author=Livadas,Greg |title=State of Ballooning: Texas |date=October 1999 |publisher=Balloon Life Magazine |url=|accessdate = 2006-01-25] The plant would be the sole producer of commercial helium in the world for a number of years. [Handbook of Texas|id=HH/doh2|name=Helium Production. Retrieved on 2007-01-25.] The U.S. National Helium Reserve is stored in the Bush Dome Reservoir at the Cliffside facility. [cite book | author = National Research Council U.S. | year = 2000 | month = | title = The Impact of Selling the Federal Helium Reserve | chapterurl = | editor = | others = | pages = 20 | publisher = National Academy Press | id = ISBN 0-309-07038-4 | url = ]

Following the lead of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad established services to and from Amarillo. Each of these three carriers maintained substantial freight and passenger depots and repair facilities in the city through most of the 20th century and were major employers within the community.cite news |author=Welch, Kevin |title=Crossroads of America |date=July 23, 2006 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25 ]

In 1929, Ernest O. Thompson, a decorated World War I general and a major businessman in Amarillo, was elected mayor to succeed Lee Bivins. Thompson instituted a major capital improvements project and worked to reduce utility rates. He joined the Texas Public Service Commission by appointment in 1933 and was elected to full terms in 1934, 1940, 1946, 1952, and 1958. He became an international expert on national petroleum and natural gas production and conservation. The first Mrs. Thompson, May Peterson Thompson, a former Metropolitan Opera singer, was involved in the arts while in Amarillo and later when the couple lived in Austin.

Amarillo was hit by the Dust Bowl and entered an economic depression. U.S. Routes 60, 87, 287, and 66 merged at Amarillo, making it a major tourist stop with numerous motels, restaurants, and curio shops. World War II led the establishment of Amarillo Army Air Field in east Amarillo and the nearby Pantex Army Ordnance Plant, which produced bombs and ammunition. After the end of the war, both of the facilities were closed. The Pantex Plant was reopened in 1950 and produced nuclear weapons throughout the Cold War. The following year, the army air base was reactivated as Amarillo Air Force Base and expanded to accommodate a Strategic Air Command B-52 Stratofortress wing. [cite web | author = Amarillo Economic Development Corporation | url = | title = Community History | accessdate = 2006-01-28] The arrival of servicemen and their families ended the city's depression. Between 1950 and 1960, Amarillo's population grew from 74,443 to 137,969. However, the closure of the Amarillo Air Force Base on December 31, 1968, contributed to a decrease in population to 127,010 by 1970. In the 1970s, ASARCO, Iowa Beef Processors (present day Tyson Foods), Owens-Corning and Weyerhaeuser built plants at Amarillo. The Eastridge neighborhood houses many immigrants from countries such as Vietnam, Laos, and Burma; Many of them found employment at the nearby Iowa Beef Processors plant. [cite news |author=Beck, Bruce |title=Representing all walks of life |date=December 27, 2006 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News|url= |accessdate = 2007-01-26] The following decade, Amarillo's city limits encompassed 60 square miles (160 km²) in Potter and Randall counties. Interstate 27 highway connecting Lubbock to Amarillo was built mostly during the 1980s.

Geography and climate

Amarillo is located near the middle of the Texas Panhandle and is part of the Llano Estacado or Staked Plains region which has a surface that is relatively flat and has little drainage in the soil. Due to the lack of developed drainage, much of the rainfall either evaporates, infiltrates into the ground, or accumulates in playa lakes. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 90.3 sq mi (234 km²). 89.9 sq mi (233 km²) of it is land and convert|0.4|sqmi|km2|abbr=on (1.2 km²) of it (0.50%) is water. The Amarillo metropolitan area is the 180th-largest in the United States with a population of 236,113 in four counties: Armstrong, Carson, Potter, and Randall.

About 40 mi (64 km) northeast of Amarillo is the Canadian River, which divides the southern part of the High Plains to form the Llano Estacado. The river is dammed to form Lake Meredith, a major source of drinking water in the Texas Panhandle region. [Handbook of Texas|id=CC/rnc2|name=Canadian River. Retrieved on 2007-01-25.] The city is situated near the Panhandle Field, in a productive gas and oil area, covering 200,000 acres (800 km²) in Hartley, Potter, Moore, Hutchinson, Carson, Gray, Wheeler, and Collingsworth counties. The Potter County portion had the nation's largest natural gas reserve. [Handbook of Texas|id=PP/dop1|name=Panhandle field. Retrieved on 2007-01-25.] Approximately 25 mi (40 km) south of Amarillo is the canyon system, Palo Duro Canyon.

The mostly unknown Amarillo Mountains are an extension of the Arbuckles of Oklahoma and the Ouachita of Arkansas. They are some one thousand feet underground. The range was discovered by pioneer oilmen. Some of the peaks are believed to be convert|10000|ft|m in height.Exhibit at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum at Canyon]


Most of Amarillo’s population growth and commercial development are occurring in the southern and northwestern parts of the city. [cite news |author=Chapman, Joe |title=Land Grab |date=February 27, 2005 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] Similar to many towns in the Texas Panhandle, the city’s downtown has suffered economic deterioration throughout the years. [cite news |author=Moon, Chris |title=Downtown Dilemma: How did it happen? |date=September 15, 2003 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] To help revitalize it, the organization Center City of Amarillo was formed to establish partnerships with groups who have a large presence in the city. [cite news |title=City's center becomes the center of attention |date=March 26, 2006 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] Since its conception in the 1990s, Center City has sponsored public art projects and started block parties in the downtown area. [cite web | publisher=Center City | title=Polk Street Block Party | url=| accessdate=4 February | accessyear=2007]

The 31-story Chase Tower, was opened in Amarillo's downtown in 1971. [cite news |author=Berzanskis, Cheryl |title=Bank One Center to be renamed in Chase merger |date=June 10, 2004 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] Completed in the same year as the Chase Tower, the Amarillo National Bank Plaza One building houses the headquarters of Amarillo National Bank, the city's largest financial institution. [cite web | author = Amarillo National Bank | url = | title = Bank History | format = HTML | accessdate = 2006-08-07] [cite news |author=Hartnett, Dwayne |title=Money Talk |date=February 27, 2005 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] The Santa Fe Building, completed in 1930, was the regional offices of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, but was vacant for several years until Potter County bought the building for $426,000 in 1995 to gain new office spaces. [cite news |author=Lutz, Jennifer |title=Renovated Santa Fe Building sparkles in debut |date=August 6, 2000 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25]

Amarillo's historic homes and buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places reflect the economic growth from around 1900 to the start of World War II. Polk Street contains many of the city's historic downtown buildings and homes. 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. [cite web | author = Excursia / Best Read Guide | url = | title = Take a Historic Tour of Amarillo | accessdate = 2006-03-11]

The City of Amarillo's Parks and Recreation Department operates over 50 municipal parks, including a skatepark west of the city. Amarillo's largest parks are Medical Park, Thompson Memorial Park, and Memorial Park, near Amarillo College's Washington Street Campus. From 1978 to 2002, the Junior League of Amarillo and the City of Amarillo's Parks and Recreation Department co-sponsored Funfest, a family entertainment festival, benefiting the city parks and the league's Community Chest Trust Fund. Funfest was held in Thompson Memorial Park during Memorial Day weekend. [cite news |title=Junior League eyes end to Funfest |date=January 25, 2001 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25]


Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle's climate is a semi-arid temperate steppe climate (Koppen climate classification "BSk"). It is characterized by a rush of cold air from the north or northwest into a warmer area and occasionally, by blizzards during the winter season and a hot summer with generally low to moderate humidity. The normal annual rainfall for Amarillo is approximately 20 inches (508 mm). Most of the region's precipitation occurs in the late spring and summer months, and the least occurs from November through March. [Rathjen, pg. 17.] The February's average high in the city is 49 °F (9 °C) and average low is 22 °F (-6 °C); July's average high is 91 °F (33 °C) and average low is 64 °F (18 °C).cite web | author = Weatherbase | url = | title = Historical Weather for Amarillo, Texas, United States of America | format = HTML | accessdate = 2006-04-15] The highest temperature ever recorded in Amarillo was 108 °F (42 °C); the lowest was -16 °F (-27 °C). [cite web | author = NOAA | url = | title = Records, Normals and Climate Notes For Amarillo | accessdate = 2006-02-13] Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle are situated on the western portion of "Tornado Alley." [cite news |author=Doyle, Thomas |title=Experts say tornado season nears |date=March 29, 2001 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-26 ]

Amarillo is in the U.S. House 13th Congressional district, and is represented by Representative Mac Thornberry. In the Texas Legislature, the city is in the 31st District in the Texas Senate, represented by Republican Kel Seliger, a former Amarillo mayor. It is in the 87th District in the Texas House of Representatives, having been represented by Republican David A. Swinford since 1991. That part of Amarillo within Randall County is represented by Swinford's Republican colleague, John T. Smithee, who has served in the 86th District since 1985.

As the seat of Potter County, the city is the location of the county's trial, civil, and criminal courts. The Randall County Amarillo Annex building is located within the city limits and houses its Sheriff's Office and Justice of the Peace Court, Precinct 4.


:"See also: List of companies in Amarillo, Texas"Amarillo is considered the regional economic center for the Texas Panhandle as well as Eastern New Mexico and the Oklahoma Panhandle. The meat packing industry is a major employer in Amarillo; about one-quarter of the United States' beef supply is processed in the area. The city is also the location of headquarters for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. Petroleum extraction is also a major industry. The helium industry has decreased in significance since the federal government privatized local operations in the late 1990s. Bell Helicopter Textron opened a helicopter assembly plant near the city's international airport in 1999.

The city's largest employer in 2005 is Tyson Foods, with 3,700 employees. The Amarillo Independent School District is next with 3,659 employees followed by BWXT Pantex, Baptist St. Anthony’s Health Care System, City of Amarillo, Northwest Texas Healthcare System, Amarillo College, and United Supermarkets. Other major employers include Bell Helicopter Textron, Owens-Corning, and ASARCO.

Approximately 14 million acres (57,000 km²) of agricultural land surrounds the city with corn, wheat and cotton as the primary crops. Other crops in the area include sorghum, silage, hay and soybeans. [cite news |author=Welch, Kevin |title=Farming changes |date=March 26, 2006 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] The Texas Panhandle, particularly in Hereford, Texas, serves as a fast growing milk producing area as several multi-million dollar state of the art dairies were built in early 2000s. [cite news | author=Levine, Steve | title=Cows in Hereford Are All Fired Up About Ethanol Plant | publisher=The Wall Street Journal | page=A1 | date=January 24, 2006]

The Amarillo Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) is funded by a city sales tax, and it provides aggressive incentive packages to existing and prospective employers. In the mid-to-late 1990s, the AEDC gained notoriety by sending mock checks to businesses across the country, placing full-page advertisements in "The Wall Street Journal", and paying an annual $1 million subsidy to American Airlines to retain jet service. [cite news |author=Curry, Kerry |title=Phone calls 'in the mail' for AEDC |date=September 9, 1997 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] [cite news |title=Amarillo renews American deal |date=May 29, 1997 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] The AEDC is largely responsible for bringing Bell Helicopter Textron's development of the V-22 Osprey hybrid aircraft and the future site of Marine One assembly in Amarillo. [cite news |author=Hartnett, Dwayne |title=Sky's the limit |date=February 27, 2005 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25]


According to the 2000 United States Census, 20.5% of all adults over the age of 25 in Amarillo have obtained a bachelor's degree, as compared to a national average of 24.4% of adults over 25, and 79.3% of Amarillo residents over the age of 25 have earned a high school diploma, as compared to the national average of 80.4%. [cite web | author = U.S. Census Bureau | url = | title = Amarillo city, Texas Fact Sheet | accessdate = 2006-01-28]

The higher education institutions in the city are Amarillo College, a two-year community college with over 10,000 students; Wayland Baptist University, a private university based in Plainview, has a branch campus in Amarillo; and Texas Tech University at Amarillo, a branch campus of Texas Tech University that offers selected master's degree programs. West Texas A&M University, in nearby Canyon, is the regional university in the Amarillo area and the Texas Panhandle.

The public primary and secondary education are mostly handled by the Amarillo Independent School District (AISD) and Canyon Independent School District. (CISD) The AISD has approximately 29,000 students in 2004 while CISD has over 8,000 students in 2005. [cite web | author = Amarillo Independent School District | url = | title = District Profile | format = PDF | accessdate = 2006-02-07] [cite news |title=2005 in Review |date=March 26, 2006 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] The AISD operates 4 high schools, 9 middle schools, 36 elementary schools, a specialty high school, and an alternative school. While, the CISD has 1 high school, 2 junior high/intermediate schools, and 4 elementary schools in Amarillo. Other school districts in the city are River Road, Highland Park, and Bushland Independent School Districts. Nonreligious and Christian denomination private schools in Amarillo include Arbor Christian Academy, Holy Cross Catholic Academy, Amarillo Montessori Academy, San Jacinto Christian Academy, Bible Heritage Christian School, and St. Andrew's Episcopal School.

From 1922-1938, the author Laura Vernon Hamner, who wrote a novelized biography of Charles Goodnight, served as the Potter County school superintendent. She was a ranch historian and radio personality. In her later years, she lived in the Herring Hotel, owned by Ernest Thompson, and was often known informally as "Miss Amarillo". [ [ Handbook of Texas Online - HAMNER, LAURA VERNON ] ]


Like many cities, Amarillo has an impressive memorial to all of its military personnel lost in war. There are separate markers listing the men and women who died in each conflict.

Amarillo has a number of natural attractions near the city. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park is the United States' second largest canyon system, after the Grand Canyon and is located south of Amarillo. Palo Duro has a distinct hoodoo that resembles a lighthouse. Another natural landmark near the city, the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument is located 30 miles (50 km) north of Amarillo. It is once known as the site for prehistoric inhabitants to obtain flint in order to make tools and weapons. About 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Amarillo in Briscoe County is Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway, the state park is the home of the official Texas State Bison Herd, who were captured and taken care of by cattle rancher Charles Goodnight. [cite news |author=Storm, Rick |title=Bison herd to be moved to Caprock Canyons |date=July 4, 1997 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25]

From 1932-1977, the Paramount Theater, originally built for $250,000, flourished in Amarillo. It had plush red carpet, murals and a pipe organ, 1,433 seats, and was considered the finest theater north of Dallas. The building is now an office and parking garage.

Local millionaire Stanley Marsh 3 has funded many public art projects in the city including the Cadillac Ranch, located west of Amarillo on Interstate 40, a monument of painted Cadillac automobiles that were dug into the ground head first. Marsh participates as well in an ongoing 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, are scattered throughout the city of Amarillo. [cite news |author=Cowley, Jennifer S. |title=Public Art in Private Places |date=October 2001 |publisher=Texas A&M University's Real Estate Center |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] Besides these works, one can find close to the city the final earthwork of Robert Smithson (and another commission by Marsh), "Amarillo Ramp".

The city has events and attractions honoring the cowboy and Texas culture. During the third week of September, the Tri-State Fair & Rodeo brings participants mostly from Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas to Amarillo since 1921. [cite news |title=Tri-State Tradition |date=June 26, 2005 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] On the Tri-State Exposition grounds, the Amarillo National Center is a special events center for events ranging from national equestrian competitions to motor sports and rodeos. The World Championship Ranch Rodeo sponsored by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association is held every November in the Amarillo Civic Center. Amarillo hosts the annual World Championship Chuckwagon Roundup the first weekend in June. Teams in competition prepare a feast of breaded beef cutlets, mashed potatoes, baked beans, and sourdough biscuits and attempt to duplicate the food served on western cattle trails of the 1860s and 1870s.cite news |author=Smith-Rodgers, Sheryl |title=Cowboy Cooking |date=May 21, 2006 – May 27, 2007 |publisher=American Profile |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] The Amarillo Livestock Auction holds a free-to-the-public cattle auction on Tuesdays. Now located on Interstate 40, The Big Texan Steak Ranch is famous by offering visitors a free 72 ounce (2 kg) beef steak if it (and its accompanying dinner) is eaten in under an hour.

Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, opened in 2006, houses the Amarillo Opera, Amarillo Symphony, and Lone Star Ballet concerts. The facility, located just across the Amarillo Civic Center, features a 1,300-seat auditorium. The Globe-News Center was built in hope by city officials and others that it will revitalize the downtown area. [cite news |author=Yates, Phillip |title=It all started with a vision |date=January 15, 2006 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] The nonprofit community theater group, Amarillo Little Theatre, has its season run from September to May. The theater group's two facilities, the Mainstage and the Adventure Space, are located west of Amarillo's downtown. The Pioneer Amphitheater, located in nearby Palo Duro Canyon, is the setting for the outdoor musical drama "Texas," which plays nightly during the summer. The musical depicts a story about the history of Texas Panhandle settlers throughout the years. In 2002, the producers changed its name to "Texas Legacies" after retiring the previous script that was used for 37 years for a more historically-accurate one, but attendance declined over the next four seasons, so it was decided to revert back to the original Paul Green script in 2006. [cite news |author=Chandler, Chip |title='Legacies' preview gets positive response |date=October 26, 2002 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] [cite news |author=Crawford, Jim |title='Texas' is back, y'all |date=February 8, 2006 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25]

The Amarillo Public Library is affiliated with the Harrington Library Consortium. The consortium consist of public, college, and school libraries located in the Texas Panhandle that share resources and cooperate with one another. Other members include the Amarillo's public schools, Amarillo College, Canyon Area Library, Lovett Memorial Library in Pampa, Texas, and Hutchinson County Library in Borger, Texas. [cite web | author =West Texas A&M University's Cornette Library | url = | title = Harrington Library Consortium | accessdate = 2006-06-19] The Amarillo Public Library's main branch is located in downtown and operates 4 neighborhood branches.

Wonderland Amusement Park is located in northern Amarillo at Thompson Park, named for Ernest Thompson. The park also houses the Amarillo zoo and offers picnicking.

Amarillo residents are known as Amarilloans. Notable Amarilloans include the Dory Funk wrestling family, astronaut Rick Husband, rockabilly pioneer Buddy Knox, actress Carolyn Jones, actress and dancer Cyd Charisse, politician John Marvin Jones, businessman T. Boone Pickens, Jr., famed gambler Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston and music artist and composer Terry Stafford ("Amarillo by Morning"; "Suspicion"). Tom Blasingame, considered to have been the oldest cowboy in the history of the American West, worked for seventy-three years, primarily, on the JA Ranch south of Amarillo. In nearby Clarendon and Canyon, Texas, lived the Western artist Harold Dow Bugbee, whose early works were patronized by Ernest Thompson.

Museums and art collections

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is an international organization dedicated to the preservation, improvement and record-keeping of the American Quarter Horse breed. The organization is headquartered in Amarillo and has a museum. There is also an American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame exhibited in the museum; among the inductees was J. L. "Dusty" Rhoades of Odessa, who served as AQHA president in 1966 and 1974. In addition, the AQHA and Center City of Amarillo co-sponsors the project, "Hoof Prints of the American Quarter Horse" which consist of horse statues located in front of several Amarillo businesses, such as the downtown Amarillo National building, Nationwide Insurance, and Edward Jones. An area business would purchase a horse statue and a local artist paints on it. [cite news |author=Welch, Kevin |title=Horses of many colors |date=November 16, 2003 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25]

Two of the Amarillo area's higher education institutions have at least one museum in their campuses. The Amarillo Art Center [] , opened in 1972, is a building complex with an art museum and concert hall located on the Washington Street Campus of Amarillo College. In addition, Amarillo College's Washington Street Campus is the home of the largest natural history museum of any two-year college in the United States. [Handbook of Texas|id=AA/kca5|name=Amarillo College. Retrieved on 2007-01-25.] Located on the campus of West Texas A&M University, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum claims to be the largest historical museum in Texas.

Don Harrington Discovery Center, located in the city's hospital district, is an interactive science center and space theater with over 60 hands-on exhibits. [cite web | author = Don Harrington Discovery Center | url = | title = Exhibits | accessdate = 2006-02-14] Outside of the building contains a steel structure called the Helium Monument which has time capsules and designates Amarillo the "Helium Capital of the World." Near the proximity of the Discovery Center, the Amarillo Botanical Gardens has gardens, indoor exhibits, and a library for visitation throughout the year.

The Texas Pharmacy Museum claims to be the only Texas museum specialized in the research, collection, preservation, and exhibition of the history of pharmacy, is also located in the city's hospital district. [cite web | author = Texas Tech Health Science Center at Amarillo | url = | title = Texas Pharmacy Museum | accessdate = 2006-04-05]

Other notable museums in the area are the Kwahadi Kiva Indian Museum and the English Field Air & Space Museum. The Kwahadi Kiva Indian Museum features a collection of Native American artifacts and provides dance performances. Sadly, the English Field Air & Space Museum, which had been operated by the Texas Aviation Historical Society featuring aircraft and space exhibits, is now closed. Visitors can peer through the chainlink fence and see some of the aircraft still sitting there. [Personal observation confirmed by Texas Visitors Bureau in Amarillo] The museum's facility used to be city's main airport terminal. [cite news |author=Chapman, Joe |title=Board asks for English Field lease extension |date=June 29, 2004 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25]

Local media

The major local newspaper is the "Amarillo Globe-News", owned by Morris Communications, was a combination of three newspapers: "Amarillo Daily News", "Amarillo Globe", and "Amarillo Times". Other publications include a local monthly magazine dealing with city and regional issues in the Amarillo area called, "Accent West". The American Quarter Horse Association publishes two monthly publications, "The American Quarter Horse Journal" and "The American Quarter Horse Racing Journal".

Amarillo's major network television affiliates are KACV-TV 2 (PBS), KAMR 4 (NBC), KVII 7 (ABC), KFDA 10 (CBS), KCIT 14 (FOX), KCPN 33 (MyNet), and KTMO-LP 36 (Telemundo). In the 2005-2006 television season, Amarillo is the 131st largest television market in the United States designated by Nielsen Media Research. [cite web | author = Nielsen Media Research | url = | title = 210 Designated Market Areas | accessdate = 2006-02-09]

Amarillo is the 195th largest United States radio market in autumn 2005 designated by the radio audience research company, Arbitron. The top 5 rated commercial radio stations in autumn 2005 according to Arbitron are classic hits station KXGL-FM 100.9; hip hop station KQIZ-FM 93.1; country station KGNC-FM 97.9; news and talk station KGNC-AM 710; and KMXJ-FM 94.1, an adult contemporary station. [cite web | author = Arbitron Ratings Data | url = | title = Fall 2005 Arbitron Results in Amarillo | accessdate = 2006-08-17] The regional public radio network, High Plains Public Radio, operates KJJP-FM 105.7. Other notable radio stations around the area include the college stations KACV-FM 89.9 (Amarillo College) Rock 108 (107.9), and KWTS-FM 91.1 (West Texas A&M University) in nearby Canyon.

Outside media attention

The city gained national media attention in 1998 when television talk show host Oprah Winfrey was unsuccessfully sued by local cattlemen for comments made on her show connecting American beef to mad cow disease, costing them and their industry millions of dollars. [cite news |author=Frankel, Daniel |title=Ranchers Say Oprah Created Lynch Mob Mentality |date= January 21, 1998 |publisher=E! News |url=,1,2414,00.html|accessdate = 2007-01-25] In order to attend the trial in Amarillo, she temporarily relocated her show to the Amarillo Little Theatre for nearly a year. During the trial, Winfrey hired Dallas-based jury consultant Phil McGraw to aid her attorneys on selecting and analyzing the members of the jury. [cite news |author=Donald, Mark |title=Analyze this |date= April 13, 2000 |publisher=Dallas Observer |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] McGraw would later become a regular guest on Winfrey's television show and subsequently started his own talk show, "Dr. Phil", in 2002. Another notable trial in Amarillo includes the Fort Worth-area murder case of T. Cullen Davis, which involved one of the richest men in the United States, his former wife, and her daughter and boyfriend. The trial was moved from Fort Worth to Amarillo in 1977 on a change of venue. [cite web | author = Court TV's Crime Library | url = | title = T. Cullen Davis: The Best Justice Money Can Buy | accessdate = 2006-05-25] The murder of Brian Deneke also brought attention outside of the Texas Panhandle mainly due to the crime revolved around a conflict between two different cultures. The small town of Tulia, Texas, approximately 47 miles (76 km) south from Amarillo, was the scene of a controversial drug sting in 1999. A federal lawsuit directed at the officials responsible for the sting operation was held in Amarillo. In the final settlement, the City of Amarillo agreed to pay $5 million in damages to the former Tulia defendants; disband the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force that it set up to oversee the sting operation; and require early retirement for two Amarillo Police Department officers who were responsible for supervising the sting's sole undercover agent. [cite web | author = Court TV's Crime Library | url = | title = The Tulia Sting | accessdate = 2006-07-30] [cite web | author = NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund | url = | title = Bad Times In Tulia, TX | accessdate = 2006-07-30]

Amarillo has been mentioned in popular music such "Amarillo by Morning" by Paul Fraser and Terry Stafford, Nat King Cole's "(Get Your Kicks) on Route 66", Bob Dylan's "Brownsville Girl" (Amarillo was referred to as the "land of the living dead"), Rob Zombie's "Two Lane Blacktop", and the song "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo?" written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, recorded famously by Yorkshireman Tony Christie and Sedaka, and revived by Peter Kay through performances in the comedy series "Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights" and in a charity performance for Comic Relief. Christie's version, which only managed to reach 18th place when originally released in 1971, made it to the number 1 spot in the UK Singles Chart in 2005 for 7 weeks. [cite news |title=Amarillo tops 2005 single sales |date= January 2, 2006|publisher=BBC News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] [cite news |title=Tony Christie tops singles chart |date= March 20, 2005|publisher=BBC News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25]

The Amarillo Film Commission is a division of the Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council that was created to provide film crews with locations and other assistance when filming in Amarillo. [cite web | author = Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council | url = | title = Amarillo CVC Film Commission | accessdate = 2006-02-09] Amarillo was the setting for many motion pictures, including "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", "Switchback" 1997, and "The Plutonium Circus", the 1995 South by Southwest Film Festival winner for best documentary feature.


The af2 indoor football team Amarillo Dusters and the CHL hockey team Amarillo Gorillas both play in the Amarillo Civic Center. Amarillo's minor league baseball team, Amarillo Dillas of the United League Baseball, plays its home games in the Potter County Memorial Stadium. Before the founding of the Dillas, the city was the home of the AA Amarillo Gold Sox. [cite news |author=Lahnert, Lance |title=Mark Lee to be named revived Dillas' GM today |date=January 10, 2006 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] Amarillo had a minor league in-door soccer team called the Amarillo Challengers that competed in the SISL and later the USISL. [cite web | author =United Soccer Leagues | url = | title = 1986... GENESIS: THE BEGINNING | format = HTML | accessdate = 2006-07-25]

West Texas A&M University features a full slate of NCAA Division II teams; however, Amarillo College is one of the few community colleges in Texas without an athletic program. From 1968 to 1996, Amarillo hosted the annual National Women's Invitational Tournament (NWIT), a post season women's college basketball tournament. [cite news |author=Riddle, Greg |title=NWIT – show board of directors the money |date=March 20, 1997 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] During high school football season, the Amarillo Independent School District schools' home games are in Dick Bivins Stadium which had a $5.7 million renovation in 2005. [cite news |title=The new Dick Bivins |date=August 23, 2005 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] Randall High School (part of the adjacent Canyon Independent School District) plays its home games in Kimbrough Memorial Stadium in Canyon. As well as the yearly clinton invitational horseshoe tournament. River Road and Highland Park High Schools, also play football, as well as other sports.

Amarillo is home to the Amarillo Gun Club. Long known as one of America's leading trap shooting clubs, the Amarillo Gun Club features a variety of clay target sports including trap, skeet, and 5-Stand. The Amarillo Gun Club has hosted numerous state championship trap shoots and has been home to members of the Trapshooting Hall of Fame.

Another part of Amarillo's sporting history was its roots in professional wrestling. Amarillo residents Dory Funk, Stanley Blackburn and Doc Sarpolis promoted the territory for several decades. Funk's sons, Dory Funk, Jr., and Terry Funk were both National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Champions and represented Amarillo.



Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport is located on the east side of Amarillo, north of Interstate 40. A portion of the former Amarillo Air Force Base was converted to civilian use and became part of the airport. [Handbook of Texas|id=AA/qba1|name=Amarillo Air Force Base. Retrieved on 2007-01-25.] The airport was named after NASA astronaut Rick Husband, an Amarillo native and commander of the Space Shuttle Columbia. The airport is served by several major air carriers with non-stop service to Dallas, Houston, Albuquerque, Denver, and Las Vegas.

Local transit services in the city have been available since 1925 and have been provided through the City of Amarillo's Amarillo City Transit (ACT) department since 1966; before that time the system was privately owned. ACT operates bus services that include fixed route transit and demand response paratransit which are designed for people with disabilities. The ACT transports approximately 350,000 passengers per year on the fixed route and 30,000 paratransit passengers, but it is a declining ridership. ACT has no plans to scale back any of their transit routes or services.

Amarillo has no passenger rail service but remains an important part of the rail freight system. The BNSF Railway complex in Amarillo continues to serve a heavy daily traffic load, approximately 100-110 trains per day. [cite news |author=Cunningham, Greg |title=Transportation key to Amarillo's past, future |date=June 26, 2005 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] The Union Pacific Railroad also sends substantial shipments to or through Amarillo. In addition to intermodal and general goods, a big portion of rail shipments involve grains and coal. There have been various proposals over the years to add passenger service. One, the "Caprock Chief", would have seen daily service as part of a Fort Worth, Texas—Denver, Colorado service, but it failed to gain traction.

The streets in Amarillo's downtown area conform to a grid pattern. The city's original street layout was set up by William H. Bush, beginning at the west end of the town moving to the east. Bush named the north to south streets for past United States presidents, in chronological order except for John Quincy Adams because the surname was taken with the second president, John Adams. [cite news |author=Routon, Ralph |title=Street names can honor past, embrace future |date=February 8, 2004 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] (The last president so honored was Grover Cleveland; though the city has expanded eastward the pattern was not continued.) While the streets running north–south honor past presidents and are designated 'streets', east–west streets are numbered and are designated 'avenues'. North of the Fort Worth & Denver (now Burlington Northern-Santa Fe) railyard, the numbers are "NW" (northwest) west of Polk Street, and "NE" (northeast) east of Polk. South of the railyard (including the downtown-city center area), numbers are officially "SW" (southwest) west of Polk, and "SE" (southeast) east of Polk. Colloquially, though, most tend to dub the SW/SE avenues as W (west)/E (east), respectively. One example of the numbering difference regards the former U.S. Highway 66 routing west of downtown and into the San Jacinto neighborhood. Most call it 'West Sixth Street' when it's actually SW Sixth Avenue.

In 1910, the Amarillo voters approved to pay for street paving and the materials used to pave the streets were bricks. [cite news |author=Parker, Debra A. |title=Brick streets helped build |date=May 17, 2001 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] As of 2003, the city still has 16.2 mi (26.1 km) of brick streets in some parts of the downtown area. The city spent $200,000 in 2002 to restore one block of brick street on Ninth Avenue between Polk and Tyler streets. [cite news |author=Chapman, Joe |title=Touchstones of history |date=August 10, 2003 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25]

Less than one mile (~1.6 km) of Interstate 27 highway is located in Potter County. The highway terminates at the city's main west-east highway, Interstate 40, just north of the Potter-Randall County line. The roadway continues northward into downtown Amarillo via U.S. 60, 87, and 287, via a series of four one-way streets including Buchanan, Pierce, Fillmore and Taylor. North of downtown the highway becomes US 87 & 287 and continues northward to Dumas, Texas.

Interstate 40, the city's major east–west thoroughfare was completed entirely through Amarillo in November 1968 across the center of the city. Previously, U.S. Highway 66 was the major east–west highway through the city, generally following Amarillo Blvd. to the north of the downtown area and then curving southwest to leave the city near the Veterans Hospital. A city route (which was an original alignment of US 66 through central and west Amarillo) followed Fillmore south into the downtown area and turned on West 6th through the San Jacinto Heights district which is now home to many antique shops, restaurants and other businesses, passing the Amarillo Country Club and veering onto West 9th Street and Bushland Blvd. before tying into the through route at a traffic circle near the Veterans Hospital.Loop 335 circles around Amarillo in all four directions and consists of four-lane roadway on its northeast and southwest quadrants and two-lane paving to the southeast and northwest.

Amarillo is also mentioned in the song Route 66.

Medical centers and hospitals

Amarillo is home to medical facilities including Baptist St. Anthony’s and Northwest Texas Hospitals, the Don & Sybil Harrington Cancer Center, Bivins Memorial Nursing Home, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Texas Tech School of Pharmacy, and Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation. All are located in the Harrington Regional Medical Center, the first specifically designated city hospital district in Texas. [Handbook of Texas|id=HH/sbhfz|name=Harrington Regional Medical Center. Retrieved on 2007-01-25.]

Baptist St. Anthony's, known locally as BSA, had some of its services listed on the "U.S. News & World Report's" "Top 50 Hospitals" from 2002 to 2005. [cite news |author=Schwarz, George |title=BSA facilities receive honors |date=July 8, 2005 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] BSA was a result of a merger between the Texas Panhandle's first hospital, St Anthony's, with High Plains Baptist Hospital in 1996. [cite news |author=Hernandez, Basil |title=Harrington Cancer Center joining BSA |date=March 23, 2006 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] The BSA Hospice & Life Enrichment Center provides important services to the Amarillo area. The BSA facility, opened in 1985, was the first free-standing hospice west of the Mississippi River that was built and opened without debt. [cite news |author=Feduris, Marlene |title=Officials unveil book about city's hospice care |date=September 18, 2002 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] In March of 2007, the city of Amarillo was proud to open the doors of the brand new Tyson Fetzer Battered Women's Shelter in BSA. This exceptional honor was bestowed upon him in recognition of his outstanding Tasscosa High School athletic achievements.

Northwest Texas Hospital is home to the area's only Level III designated trauma center.

The Thomas E. Creek Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center is located east of Harrington Regional Medical Center. The facility opened in 1940 and was renamed in 2005, honoring the 18-year old Amarillo Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. [cite web | author = Library of Congress – Congressional Records | url = | title = Thomas E. Creek Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center -- (House of Representatives – September 13, 2004) | accessdate = 2006-04-17] Construction began in 2006 for a new Texas State Veterans Home in northwest Amarillo. The United States government, through the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, provided the funding to build the facility, while the Texas government will run it after construction is completed. [cite news |author=Cunningham, Greg |title=Veterans home on its way |date=March 11, 2005 |publisher=Amarillo Globe-News |url=|accessdate = 2007-01-25] The home is scheduled to open in 2007.


Drinking water is provided by the City of Amarillo and its Utilities Division. Amarillo's water supply comes from Lake Meredith and the Ogallala Aquifer. The city's drinking water is a blend of both sources. Lake Meredith is located northeast of Amarillo contains at least 114 billion gallons (431 million ) of water. The city's daily water production averages between 40-50 million gallons (151,000-189,000 m³). [cite web | author = City of Amarillo's Utilities Division | url = | title = 2005 Water Quality Report | format = PDF | accessdate = 2006-01-28]

Collection and disposal of city's trash or garbage are the responsibility of City of Amarillo's Solid Waste Collection and Solid Waste Disposal Departments. Amarillo's non-hazardous solid waste are collected and disposed it through burial in the city's landfill. The City of Amarillo also operates recycling collection centers located one near the downtown area and at 4 fire stations in the city. [cite web | author = City of Amarillo | url = | title = Solid Waste Departments | accessdate = 2006-02-07] Other utilities are primarily provided by private organizations. Natural gas is distributed by Atmos Energy. Electric power service is distributed by Xcel Energy. Wired telephone service provider is primarily by AT&T. Cable television is provided by Suddenlink Communications.


External links

* [ City of Amarillo]
* [ Amarillo Chamber of Commerce]
* [ Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council]
* [ Amarillo Economic Development Corp.]
* [ Amarillo Area Parks]
* [ Amarillo Public Library Photoarchive Collection] – Displays historical pictures of Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle
* [ Amarillo traffic webcams]
* [ Amarillo's Cadillac Ranch]

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