Amarillo Helium Plant, 1929-1970
The Texas Panhandle is unique for many of its natural resources, including an abundance of helium gas. A plant located near this marker produced nearly all of the helium in the world from 1929 to 1943. Control over this important natural resource was critical during America's fight in World War II, as helium is used in numerous defense-related scientific fields from nuclear energy to producing lighter-than-air aerial craft. This plant in Amarillo was operated by the Bureau of Mines and operated from 1929 to 1970.
Backstory and Context
For a period in the 1930s, this was the site of the only factory that produced helium in the world. Over ninety percent of the world's known supply of helium gas is located in this region of the Texas Panhandle. Commercial firms also came to value the potential of helium in processes related to welding. By the mid-1930s, helium was in high demand by both the military and many industrial firms.