Photos collected from AmaChron files, newspaper clippings, postcards, private collections, high school annuals, and various Internet sources.
Assembled by Ronn Wood
(LAST UPDATE January 11, 2024)
Downtown on a busy Friday night in the early 60s
8th and Polk
Five photos from 9th and Polk
"Draggin' Polk" circa 1964 view above 5th and Polk:.
The white building is Montgomery Ward which operated Downtown until August 1967.
On this side is Mangles and on the far side C. R. Anthony's and Kress.
7th and Polk from atop the Fisk Building
The view southwest from the 14th floor of the Herring Hotel (1967).
The view west toward 8th Ave and Polk St.
The Fisk Building went up in 1927 providing space for the medical arts.
Looking down on 7th and Polk Street from The Fisk Building.
Looking south at 8th Ave and Polk St. Levine's and Walgreen's shared the same building.
Home of the Western Lines Division of the Santa-Fe RR
Built in 1929-30 The Santa Fe Building soars to 188 feet with 12 stories.
An auditorium / meeting room is located on the top floor.
4th and Polk
The DOWNTOWER MOTOR INN opened in 1965 and included underground parking.
Dave Wilson on the roof of The DOWNTOWNER HOTEL.
The City of Amarillo took over the transit system after purchasing old buses from Dallas in 1966.
(DOWNTOWNER Hotel is in the background, Amarillo National Bank is on the right)
The Amarillo Bus Company operated until 1966.
This 1961 photo shows Amarillo Bus Company's FREE RIDE AND SHOP BUS sponsored by Downtown merchants.
The promotion is for the Sandra Dee movie "Tammy Tell Me True" at The Paramount Theater.
The Tri-State Fair Parade passes in front of The Hub Clothiers Store in the 600 block of Polk (September 18, 1967).
The Parade passes in front of The Mongram Store at 5th and Polk (1969)
AHS's mock-up of the 1969 Apollo 11 Lunar Lander in the Fair Parade (1969).
Horace Mann Jr. High Band marching in the Tri-State Fair Parade turning the corner at 3rd and Polk (1960).
In front of the Vaughn Building at 4th and Polk, the location of their studios,
KVII TV broadcast the Tri-State Fair Parade for decades
NE corner of 4th and Polk 1960 before The DOWNTOWNER was constructed.
Amarillo National Bank SE corner 4th and Polk (1966)
The Rule Building at 3rd and Polk was the
home of Southwestern Public Service Company in 1965.
KRESS Store at the SW corner of 7th and Polk
Christmas on Polk St. 1965
5th and Polk in December 1967
(photo from the parking garage on 5th)
9th and Polk December 1967
Christmas night time at 7th and Polk 1969
Woolworth Building to see new life. Read the story:
The Skaggs Store near 7th and Polk was open until 1970.
6th and Polk: Most astronomers now agree that this street sign is the exact Center of the Universe!
View south from 6th and Polk. T G & Y had a downtown store until the early '60s.
White & Kirk Department Store 6th and Polk circa 1967
In 1969 the city foolishly purchased a fleet of small shuttle buses for the transit system. They lasted less than 3 years.
View NE from 5th and Taylor: Vaughn Bldg, Downtowner Hotel, Amarillo Hotel, Amarillo Bldg.
A mid-'60's aerial view of Downtown looking north from 12th Avenue at Polk Street.
View SW from above 2nd and Buchanan Street.
Mylam's Toyland store on Polk St.
American National Bank 7th and Tyler NE corner
Panhandle Savings 7th and Tyler SE corner
First National Bank 8th and Tyler
Fedway Department Store 8th Ave. at Tyler St.
(Fedway closed August 7, 1971 after 18 years operation)
Penney's and Fedway as seen from the top of the Santa Fe Building in 1962
The Amarillo Savings & Loan Building on west 8th.
For many years the AMARILLO GEAR COMPANY was located just north of Downtown on Polk Street.
Carol Wilson's "Dragging Polk" story (1966)
The old City Auditorium (1926-1968) was replaced by the Civic Center.
Auditorium grounds at Christmas Time below.
David DeWald takes a look inside the old City Auditorium the day before demolition begins in 1968.
The old auditorium comes down behind the new City Hall (1968).
Pioneer Natural Gas Building topped by the iconic blue flame
The 3 level parking garage at 5th and Polk was built in 1957 by Lindsey Nunn.
An 8-story office building was to be constructed atop it but was never built.
The parking structure remained in place until it was demolished about 1968.
BELOW: The Vaughn Building takes shape.
Feferman's Department Store was located at 4th and Taylor.
Looking NW at 6th and Pierce about 1965. The block includes the old Liberty Theater which is still standing.
The popular Canton Cafe was located at 5th and Taylor where the Amarillo National "Bronze Skyscraper" now stands.
The Amarillo Hotel closed April 7, 1965
By 1969 The Amarillo Hotel building was in it's last days.
The first floor was remodeled for use as the Teepee Western Store which operated several years.
The hotel tower was imploded April 16, 1978. To see it CLICK
The Ross Hotel was located at 5th and Pierce (Demolished in the early '80s)
The Capitol Hotel was at 4th and Pierce where the Globe News Center for the Performing Arts is now located.
(Demolished in 1977 click here to see)
The Palo Duro Hotel built in 1926 at 3rd and Fillmore remained standing until 1964.
The Herring Hotel opened December 31, 1926
A new life for the Herring is coming soon!
The Herring's 3-storey sign had been removed by 1969
Thorn Candy Factory was located on Fillmore Street next to the Khiva Temple.
WESTERN NATIONAL LIFE
Growing from a two to a five story building in 1962
Western National Life Building Do you remember the WEATHER TOWER on top? (1964)
Greyhound Bus Depot 9th Ave and Taylor Street (1949 - 1987)
Continental Trailways Bus Depot 7th Ave and Tyler Street
Greyhound acquired Continental Trailways in June 1987 and all bus traffic was moved to the remodeled Trailways Bus Depot.
The Santa Fe Railroad Depot
The depot was in use for passenger trains until May 1, 1971.
AmTrak will remain a failure until service is routed through Amarillo!
Madame Queen #5000 displayed in front of the depot
Throughout the '60s former president Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower traveled through the city in his private rail car,
occasionally appearing on the rear deck to say a few words to people who gathered at the Santa Fe Depot.
Dave Wilson above the Santa Fe Railroad Yards on the I-40 bridge (1965).
BELOW: The I-40 bridge under construction over the Santa Fe Railroad yards (1964).
Historic Rock Island Railroad Depot on Polk St. (secretly demolished in February 1986).
A beautiful photo of Rock Island Train No. 21 with service from Memphis, TN through Amarillo to Tucumcari, NM
CLICK IMAGE TO VISIT THE WEBSITE
The Fillmore Street underpass beneath the Burlington and Rock Island tracks.
The last passenger train from Amarillo on the FW&D (Burlington) line was
The Texas Zephyr Train No. 2 northbound and
Train No. 7 southbound September 11, 1967.
Thanks for this information to
The Fort Worth & Denver Railroad created the end of track town which became Amarillo (1887).
MECCA '69 was a plan developed at the beginning of the decade to revamp DOWNTOWN and turn Polk Street into an
open air shopping mall by 1969.
This 15-story hotel was announced in 1962 but never built.
With the fading of the MECCA '69 dream this old city hall location at 4th and Tyler eventually became the site of a
multi-level parking garage and fitness center for The MESA / then MAXOR Building (originally The VAUGHN Building).
GO LOW: the Biard family ran a fine record shop at 506 Polk St.
Patti Seymour at GO LOW Record Shop
Betty Biard at GO LOW (1967)
Recording the Fair Parade in front of GO LOW: Everett Roberts and Guy W. Pigg.
Ruby Lewis aka "Lady Cool Breeze" sells Judy Thigpen a record at the F. W. Woolworth store Downtown.
Ronnie Davis makes a purchase. Downtown stores were open until 9 PM on Thursdays.
"Lady Cool Breeze", on KLYN/KIXZ Radio in the early '60s
The studios were located in the Pioneer Hotel and featured a drive up window for making requests.
Ruby Lewis 1924 - 2016
Woolworth Lunch Counter 1966
Menu photo courtesy Dwain McMahan
Interior view of the Downtown Blackburn's Department Store.
No photo available of the historic Cooper & Melin Record Shop at 616 S. Polk.
Heath Furniture store at 7th & Tyler St. The First Bank Southwest Tower is there today.
The Federal Building and Downtown U.S. Post Office
Faith City Mission was at 5th and Buchanan, the Pig Hip at 5th and Fillmore.
The Crossroads Motel is visible behind the Potter County Courthouse in this 1965 photo.
Bumpus TEXACO station adjacent to The Herring Hotel at 3rd and Fillmore.
The Taylor Street overpass spanned the Rock Island and Burlington Railroads delivering traffic to Downtown beginning in 1962.
The Pierce Street overpass was completed a short time later.
Construction of the new Amarillo Globe News/Amarillo Daily News building on Van Buren Street began in 1966.
ABOVE: The Santa Fe Building and The First National Bank as seen from The Canyon E-Way in 1964
BELOW: Looking southwest from atop The Downtowner Hotel in 1966
View from the new City Hall in December 1968.
Too many buildings have been demolished to build too many parking lots.
S C H O O L S
Price College later became Alamo High School
St. Mary's Academy
The original Amarillo High School on Polk
1964 photo of Palo Duro High School / opened in 1955
Aerial view of Tascosa H. S. (Opened in 1958)
Caprock High School opened in '63
Carver High School
Price College / later Alamo High School
above photo: Copyright/RalphDuke/2009
PARAMOUNT THEATER (1933 - 1975)
1963 (The 2nd JAMES BOND movie is showing)
Paramount Ticket Booth
STATE THEATER (1932 - 1978) 503 Polk Street
Jeanie Fielder in the ticket booth of the State Theater.
The State was closed in 1978 and demolished in 1982.
VICTORY THEATER (1949 - 1976) 507 Polk Street.
Also known for a short time as the TEXART THEATER.
The Victory, State Theater, and the entire block were demolished in 1982 and is now a 4 level parking garage for Amarillo National Plaza II.
The RIALTO THEATER was located on Taylor St between 3rd and 4th Aves.
About 1965 it was closed and converted into more space for Fefferman's Department Store.
The theater and department store were demolished in the late '70s.
The STAR THEATER on N. Fillmore St.
ESQUIRE THEATER (1947-1981) S. Washington St.
The entire block with the theater was demolished in 1982.
Movie ads March 31, 1963
The Esquire and State Theaters were demolished in 1982
but The Paramount Building stills stands though not in use as a theater.
Western Plaza Cinema opened March 29, 1968
The building was demolished along with the rest of Western Plaza in 2007.
Western Plaza Cinema (1968-1993 in the mall)
Fox Theater (opened July 30, 1968 - closed July 27, 1992) on Wolflin Ave.
The building was demolished in the summer of '93.
Tascosa Drive In Theater (1952-1985 back screen reopened 1999) Dumas E-way . This view is 1968.
Tascosa Drive-In with its original design including mural.
(This screen burned to the ground in the late '70s)
Twin Drive In Theater (1952 - 1985) Canyon E-Way
(where the Georgia Street Super Walmart is now located)
Sunset Drive In Theater (1954 - 1982) Old Route 66 West
near 9th Ave and Bell Street
(where the Winchester Apartment complex is now located)
The Palo Duro Drive-In Theater (May 13, 1948 - November 26, 1967) Canyon E-Way at Georgia
(where the Randall County Annex and DPS offices are now located)
The Palo Duro and Twin Drive-Ins from high above.
The Wal-Mart Super Center on S. Georgia St. is now located here.
The Trail Drive-In Theater (1947-1977) was located at 7720 Amarillo Blvd East.
The theater burned down in 1979.
The Skyway Drive-In opened October 27, 1950 / closed February 22, 1964. It was at the end of SE 18th Ave just off the Dallas Highway.
(The screen was located at what is now the eastbound lanes of I-40 E)
Waiting for the show to start circa 1960.
Other Amarillo theaters:
Texas Theater (1930s- 1950s on Polk St.)
Liberty Theater (1920s-1950s E. 4th Ave)
Lyric Theater (1940-1962 in San Jacinto)
Texas Theater (1929-1955 near 8th & Polk )
Capitol Theater (1935-1952) near 3rd & Polk
Leon Theater/Deandi Theater (1920s-!950s 608 Polk)
Cinema Twin (1975-1998 S. Western at 42nd)
Showplace 4 (1977 -2002 in Pucket Plaza)
Mann's Fox 4 (1979-1999 in Bell Plaza)
United Artists Cinema 6 (1980 -1998 I-40 W)
United Artists Westgate 6 (1988-2002 Westgate Mall)
Rex Theater (1937-1960 on Old Route 66 in San Jacinto)
and about a dozen other theaters which vanished before 1960
GREAT FOOD BACK THEN
TWINGS Drive In (N. Fillmore St.)
TWINGS Menu circa 1964
Information about Harold Twing CLICK
Jolly Jung Drive-In on NE 15th at Mirror Street,
Dino's Drive In (Wolflin Ave. & also a location on W. 6th Ave.)
Dino's Car Hop Lorretta Morales
The Double Dip Drive-In on Polk St. Downtown opened in 1931 and survived until 1971 (above photo 1968)
Ranger Drive In (Canyon E-way)
The Jolly Jung Drive Up (N. E. 15th Ave. at Mirror St.)
A & W Root Beer (N. E. 8th Ave. at Lake St.)
Griff's Burger Bar (N. E. 8th Ave) 1963 1968
Stanley's Drive (S. Georgia St.)
K & N ROOT BEER (One of Téa Leoni's favorite places)
The Silver Grill was Downtown on Tyler Street between 7th and 8th.
photo by Mark Potter
Underwood's original location on Route 66 later became the first home of the now internationally known BIG TEXAN.
oil painting of the
original Big Texan by Jerry McClanahan
Interior of the new Underwood's which was located just west of St. Anthony's Hospital on Amarillo Blvd (demolished for hospital expansion).
Denny's opened on Amarillo Blvd. (N E 8th) in 1964.
A second location opened on Paramount Blvd at I-40 in 1968.
OPEN 24 HOURS A DAY
Sambo's opened a restaurant near I-40 and Paramount Blvd. in 1968.
Nona's Cafe was located on Bell St. at The Canyon Expressway
TToddle House operated eateries on Amarillo Blvd. E. and on W. 10th near Downtown
Country Pride (1954 -2016)
Cattleman's Cafe has been in business more than 60 years
. . .don't forget Smitty's Drive Inn Restaurant on W. 6th
Minnie Pearl's Chicken opened two locations in Amarillo in '69.
Roy Rogers Roast Beef on Wolflin near Tascosa HS opened in 1968 and later became ARBY's.
Spudnuts was open until February 2015
The Bonanza Sirloin Pit opened in 1968 near I-40 and Western
Myers Fried Chicken was actually "Myer's Drumstick Restaurant" but no one ever called it that.
Everyone loved it.
Here's the TAKE OUT MENU <> provided by Dyann B. Folkner:
Wouldn't you love to have a BOXCAR of Myer's Fried Chicken right now?!
Information about the train which ran around the top of the restaurant.
Myer's original location on W. 6th. (Pre 1963)
Almost no one remembers that Myers opened a second restaurant in 1978 on Bell Street at the Canyon Expressway (I-27).
It was across the street from Scotty Golf. It remained open for almost a year after the Georgia Street location closed.
Southwestern Public Service Co. created this Amarillo promotional film (1962-1964)
CLICK THE IMAGE TO VIEW
THERE IS A LOT MORE!
CLICK to CONTINUE