Amarillo Texas Downtown Walking Tour
This tour is a work in progress, and we hope to add a few more entries soon.
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company Depot is the only historic train station in Amarillo still standing today. Originally built in 1910 (it was expanded in later years), the depot is a fine example of Spanish-Revival architecture, reflecting the culture of the Southwest. It is also a reminder of how integral railroads were to the city in the late 19th and 20th centuries. On display a few blocks away from the depot, at the corner of 2nd and S. Lincoln Street, is the Locomotive 5000, a large steam-locomotive built in 1930. Given the nickname the "Madam Queen," it was a powerful and fast and traveled 1.75 million miles over the course of its service. It appears that the depot is vacant as of October 2019 but the city is in the process of developing new ideas for it.
The J. Marvin Jones Federal Building was built in 1939 as a United States Post Office and Courthouse. It is historically significant for its architecture and association with "New Deal" federal works programs of the 1930s, which provided employment during the Great Depression. Though not as large as the buildings around it, it holds a prominent place in downtown Amarillo and provides a physical space for the federal government in the city. In terms of architecture, the building was designed by Wyatt C. Hedrick in the Moderne style. It is also known for its large murals located in the former lobby painted by artist Julius Woeltz in 1940. The murals depict the history, cultures, industries, and agricultural life of the Texas Panhandle.
Constructed in 1932, the Potter County Courthouse and is historically significant in two ways. One is that it is a fine example of Art Deco architecture. It features decorative bas relief elements including flowering cactus, Native Americans wrapped in blankets, pioneers carrying rifles, and local wildlife and vegetation. The courthouse is also significant for its role in the local political and economic history of the county. It continues to serve as the seat of county government.
Constructed in 1922, the historic Potter County Library is located next to the Potter County Courthouse. Both were designed by local architect William C. Townes. Townes designed the building, which now houses county offices, in the Prairie School style. The two-story structure (and a basement) features a somewhat simple appearance with geometric detailing. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
Originally known as the SPS Tower, the FirstBank Southwest Tower is the tallest building in Amarillo. It is also significant for representing Amarillo's growth, development, and economic stability during the post-World War II period. Built in 1971, the tower is 31-stories tall and reaches a height of 374 feet. Tulsa architecture firm Kelley Marshall and Associates designed it in the New Formalist style. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
The Fisk Medical Arts Building is one of Amarillo's best-known landmarks. Designed by architect Guy Anton Carlander, the building 10-stories tall and was built in 1928 by banker Charles A. Fisk, who was the president of the Amarillo Bank and Trust. The building, which is named after Fisk, is a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture, featuring a red-brick facade with terra cotta detailing, pointed arches, and other decorative elements. The bank occupied the first floor and various medical offices leased the upper floors. The building is now a Marriott hotel.
Constructed in 1930, the Santa Fe Building was the tallest building in the city for forty years. An excellent example of Gothic Revival architecture, it was built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway company to be its new regional headquarters. Company architect E.A. Harrison designed the building, which is fourteen stories tall. Given its association with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, the building represents how important the company was to the local and regional economy. Today, the building houses county offices and commercial space on the ground floor.
The Bivins House is a large brick mansion that is now the location of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce. It was built by its namesake, Lee Bivins (1862-1929), in 1905. Bivins was an important figure in Amarillo during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A successful oilman and rancher, Bivins was also a philanthropist and civic leader, serving as city commissioner and then mayor. In terms of architecture, the house is a fine example of the Georgian Revival style. It features Edwardian bay windows, leaded glass, large dormer windows, a two-story portico, limestone trim, and other decorative elements.
Built in 1902, the H.B. Sanborn House is one of the oldest homes in Amarillo. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, the house is named after Henry Bradley Sanborn, who is considered as the "father of Amarillo." In terms of design, the home is an excellent and rare example Italianate architecture in the city. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Built in 1926 and originally called Central Presbyterian Church, First Presbyterian Church is a fine example of the Gothic Revival architectural style. It is located south of downtown Amarillo in one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city called the Plemons Addition. The church was erected during a period in which the city grew significantly thanks to the booming oil and natural gas industries. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
First Baptist Church is one of Amarillo's largest and most striking landmarks. It is somewhat unique in that it does not exhibit a particular architectural style. However, it does incorporate a theme of rounded arches on the exterior and in the interior. It also features decorative moldings (on the exterior) and decorative, painted ornamentation in the interior. As such, the interior is arguably more striking than the exterior. First Baptist Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, Harrington House is one of Amarillo's most important and recognizable landmarks. It was built in 1914 by brothers John and Patrick Landergin, who became wealthy cattle ranchers in the late 19th century. Later, it was the home of wealthy oilman Don Harrington and his wife, Sybil, who were also prominent figures in the community. In terms of architecture, the house is a fine example of Neoclassical architecture, featuring a two-story portico, a symmetrical design, an ornate interior, and a collection of fine and decorative arts. The house has twenty rooms, eight bathrooms, and seven fireplaces. Today, the home is a museum and open to tours by appointment.
Founded in 2013, the Amarillo Historical Museum is located on the second floor of a former elementary school. It explores the city's history beginning from the construction of the first railroad line to today. It was established by local businessman Tom "Bub" Warren, who wanted to showcase the city's rich history. The museum is housed on the third floor of a former elementary school. Numerous items are on display including photographs, memorabilia, and artifacts.