Here’s Something Cool in Amarillo You Might Have Missed
Amarillo is rich in history and is 136 years old. It's always great to remember how cool Amarillo was back in the day.
Amarillo had everything a person needed, the railroad, stores, and a church. Amarillo had one church, and many different congregations used this church. It is the little white church next to the current First Baptist Church. This church is the oldest in Amarillo.
While this church is something you might have seen over and over, a certain historical marker is something you might not have seen. Polk Street is a very historical street in Amarillo and is still the center of downtown Amarillo. The area of Polk Street was home to some of Amarillo's original schools.
This historical marker reminds us of those educational institutions that educated the future leaders of Amarillo. The marker stands to remember the first school in Amarillo which was known as the Red Brick School, the building that was home to Amarillo High School, Central Jr High, and later renamed Nixson Jr. High, and eventually it became Amarillo High School. Unfortunately, AHS burned down in 1970.
The historical markers inscription reads:
During the 20th century, Polk Street was home to three public schools. The first opened in 1900 to meet the needs of the rapidly-growing Amarillo community. Bounded by Polk, Tyler, 12th and 13th Streets, the Red Brick School house supplied space for 284 students; the property also had sheds for the horses and donkeys belonging to students coming from ranches. In 1911, a brick building was completed south of the Red Brick School at 1300 Polk Street; it was named Amarillo High School. In 1921, the Red Brick School was razed to make room for a new, larger Amarillo High School, which opened the next year. The 1300 Polk Street building became Central Junior High School; it was later renamed Elizabeth Nixson Junior High School in honor of a former principal. In 1927, the empty space in Amarillo High School’s u-shape design was filled with a cafeteria, gymnasium and auditorium. Further additions were made in 1951 and 1952. In 1964, Nixson Junior High School was razed; other educational facilities were built on the site. Three years later, Amarillo High School integrated without major incident. A 1970 fire destroyed the main building’s third floor and the auditorium, and damaged the rest of the structure. Students attended classes in usable rooms and in nearby churches until it was decided to rebuild the high school on Danbury Street. The school board sold the block to Amarillo College, and the building at 1200 Polk was razed. Today, other structures from Nixson Junior High and Amarillo High School are still used. Although the former school buildings on Polk Street are no longer employed in primary and secondary education, the schools’ legacy lies in the vital contributions of the former students in the community, state and nation.
The marker is located in the parking lot on Polk South of SW 12th Street, near the Innovation Outpost.
If you get a chance and are out and about learning about the history of Amarillo, stop by and check out this beautiful historical marker. While you're in the neighborhood, you can also check out the other markers within walking distance from the Polk Street Schools, they include Polk Street United Methodist, Central Presbyterian Church, Firestone Store, The Amarillo Story, Santa Fe Building, The Bivins Home, American Mammoths and of course, the church mentioned above.
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