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Amarillo Business Signs
Amarillo, Texas is located within the Texas Panhandle. Prior to settlement by the United States in the late nineteenth century, the Texas Panhandle had been inhabited for 800-900 years. According to The University of Texas at Austin, these natives lived in small, competitive groups. They are known as the Plains Village tradition or Antelope Creek culture.
It wasn’t until J.I. Berry from the United States came into the area in April of 1887 that a town was established. Berry chose a “well-watered section along the way of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad” for the site of Amarillo. In fact, it was originally called Oneida but its name was changed to Amarillo after the Spanish word for “yellow.” At that time, yellow wildflowers grew on yellow soil along the banks and shores of nearby Amarillo Lake and Amarillo Creek.
Today, according to a 2013 estimate by the US Census Bureau, the city of Amarillo has a population of 196,429 people. This makes it the 121st most populous city in the country and the fourteenth most populous city in the state of Texas. Amarillo is the largest city in the Texas Panhandle. The Amarillo metropolitan area, according to that same estimate, has a total population of 249,881 people. This makes it the 185th most populous metropolitan area in the United States.
At one time, Amarillo had one of the country’s most productive helium fields. Because of this, it was often affectionately referred to as the “Helium Capital of the World.” This is far from the only nickname for the city of Amarillo, however. It has been called “The Yellow Rose of Texas” because of its name, and also “Rotor City, USA”, for the V-22 Osprey hybrid aircraft assembly plant located in the area. Amarillo also has the dubious distinction as the site for “the only nuclear weapons assembly and dissassembly facility in the country.” For this reason, it is also often called “Bomb City.”
Amarillo is perhaps best known as being a gigantic hub for the meat packing industry. In fact, one-quarter of the United States’ beef supply is processed in the area. The city’s largest employer, Tyson Foods, is a beef-related company. As of 2005, Tyson Foods was responsible for 3,700 employees.
Other prominent businesses located in and around the city of Amarillo include Amarillo Design Bureau, Amarillo National Bank, Hastings Entertainment, Pak-A-Sak, Pantex (which is responsible for the nuclear weapons assembly and dissassembly plant), ASARCO, Bell Helicopter Textron, Big Lots, BNSF Railway, Owens-Corning, Weyerhaeuser, and Xcel Energy.
One of the most interesting and unusual attractions nearby the city of Amarillo is Cadillac Ranch. Cadillac Ranch is in fact not a ranch but a public art installation and sculpture. Created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Michels, Cadillac Ranch, according to the Amarillo Globe-News, “consists of…either older running used or junk Cadillac automobiles…from 1949 to 1963, half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle correponsing to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.”
A more conventional attraction located in Amarillo is the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in 2006. The Globe-News Center hosts Amarillo Opera, Amarillo Symphony, and Lone Star Ballet concerts. Elsewhere around the city, Amarillo features Wonderland Park, an amusement park which opened in 1951. Wonderland Park contains the Amarillo Zoo.
Amarillo is home to several professional sports franchises. They include the Amarillo Venom of the Lone Star Football League, who play their home games in the Amarillo Civic Center. The Venom have three championships to their name. The NAHL Jr. A hockey Amarillo Bulls also play their home games in the Amarillo Civic Center. They have one Robertson Cup to their name. Baseball’s Independent League’s Amarillo Thunderheads play at Potter County Memorial Stadium.
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