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Texas Plains Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Amarillo


Photo by Rick Vanderpool

TURNING YELLOW INTO GOLD

The color of the local creek bank soil and the saffron hue of area wildflowers were the most likely inspirations for naming this 1887 townsite for the Spanish word meaning yellow. Amarillo’s first residents followed suit by painting their houses the color as well. A cattle boom followed, quickly elevating this Potter County seat to industrial holding ground for livestock driven across the Panhandle, the Plains, and eastern New Mexico on their way to market via the railroad. Shortly before the turn of the century, Amarillo’s status as cattle shipping point outranked all others worldwide and the resulting prosperity enabled the city to thrive over the next three decades. Despite a setback during the Dust Bowl era, the city continued to grow, constructing a new courthouse and other buildings in the Art Deco style of the period. Amarillo’s Potter County courthouse has since been renovated courtesy of the county and the Texas Historical Commission Courthouse Preservation Program. Today the Amarillo Museum of Art, the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum, Cadillac Ranch, and Amarillo’s Historic Route 66 district are among the cultural institutions representing the city’s dynamic and historic legacy.

Amarillo's Wildcat Bluff Nature Center is the site of a giant arrow marker on the Quanah Parker Trail. Learn more about the arrow, and this area's Comanche history, here.


Contact

  • Contact: Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council
  • Phone: 800-692-1338
  • Visit Website

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Read more about Amarillo in the Handbook of Texas Online.