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Amarillo, Texas

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Amarillo in Texas.

 

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Amarillo is the 14th-largest city in the state of Texas, the largest in the Texas Panhandle, and the seat of Potter County. A portion of the city extends into Randall County. The population was 173,627 at the 2000 census. The Amarillo metropolitan area has an estimated population of 236,113 in four counties. In July 2009, the population was estimated at 189,389.

Culture

Like many cities, Amarillo has an impressive memorial to all of its military personnel lost in war. There are separate markers listing the men and women who died in each conflict.

Amarillo has a number of natural attractions near the city. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park is the United States' second largest canyon system, after the Grand Canyon and is located south of Amarillo. Palo Duro has a distinct hoodoo that resembles a lighthouse. Another natural landmark near the city, the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument is located 30 miles (50 km) north of Amarillo. It is once known as the site for prehistoric inhabitants to obtain flint in order to make tools and weapons. About 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Amarillo in Briscoe County is Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway, the state park is the home of the official Texas State Bison Herd, who were captured and taken care of by cattle rancher Charles Goodnight.

From 1932 to 1977, the Paramount Theater, originally built for $250,000, flourished in Amarillo. It had plush red carpet, murals and a pipe organ, 1,433 seats, and was considered the finest theater north of Dallas. The building is now an office and parking garage.

Local millionaire Stanley Marsh 3 has funded many public art projects in the city including the Cadillac Ranch, located west of Amarillo on Interstate 40, a monument of painted Cadillac automobiles that were dug into the ground head first. Marsh participates as well in an ongoing art project called the Dynamite Museum, which consist of thousands of mock traffic signs. These signs, bearing messages such as "Road does not end" or displaying a random picture, are scattered throughout the city of Amarillo. Besides these works, one can find close to the city the final earthwork of Robert Smithson (and another commission by Marsh), Amarillo Ramp.

The city has events and attractions honoring the cowboy and Texas culture. During the third week of September, the Tri-State Fair & Rodeo brings participants mostly from Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas to Amarillo since 1921. On the Tri-State Exposition grounds, the Amarillo National Center is a special events center for events ranging from national equestrian competitions to motor sports and rodeos. The World Championship Ranch Rodeo sponsored by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association is held every November in the Amarillo Civic Center. Amarillo hosts the annual World Championship Chuckwagon Roundup the first weekend in June. Teams in competition prepare a feast of breaded beef cutlets, mashed potatoes, baked beans, and sourdough biscuits and attempt to duplicate the food served on western cattle trails of the 1860s and 1870s. The Amarillo Livestock Auction on Bull Rd. holds a free-to-the-public cattle auction on Tuesdays. Now located on Interstate 40, The Big Texan Steak Ranch is famous by offering visitors a free 72 ounce (2 kg) beef steak if it (and its accompanying dinner) is eaten in under an hour.

Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, opened in 2006, houses the Amarillo Opera, Amarillo Symphony, and Lone Star Ballet concerts. The facility, located just across the Amarillo Civic Center, features a 1,300-seat auditorium. The Globe-News Center was built in hope by city officials and others that it will revitalize the downtown area. The nonprofit community theater group, Amarillo Little Theatre, has its season run from September to May. The theater group's two facilities, the Mainstage and the Adventure Space, are located west of Amarillo's downtown. The Pioneer Amphitheater, located in nearby Palo Duro Canyon, is the setting for the outdoor musical drama Texas, which plays nightly during the summer. The musical depicts a story about the history of Texas Panhandle settlers throughout the years. In 2002, the producers changed its name to Texas Legacies after retiring the previous script that was used for 37 years for a more historically-accurate one, but attendance declined over the next four seasons, so it was decided to revert back to the original Paul Green script in 2006.

The Amarillo Public Library is affiliated with the Harrington Library Consortium. The consortium consist of public, college, and school libraries located in the Texas Panhandle that share resources and cooperate with one another. Other members include the Amarillo's public schools, Amarillo College, Canyon Area Library, Lovett Memorial Library in Pampa, Texas, and Hutchinson County Library in Borger, Texas. The Amarillo Public Library's main branch is located in downtown and operates 4 neighborhood branches.

Wonderland Amusement Park is located in northern Amarillo at Thompson Park, named for Ernest Thompson. The park also houses the Amarillo zoo and offers picnicking.

Amarillo residents are known as Amarilloans. Notable Amarilloans include actress Ann Doran (1911–2000), the Dory Funk wrestling family, former UFC Champions Heath Herring and Evan Tanner, astronaut Rick Husband, professional golfer Ryan Palmer, rockabilly pioneer Buddy Knox, actress Carolyn Jones, actress and dancer Cyd Charisse, State Senator Max Sherman, clergyman W. Winfred Moore, politicians Roy Whittenburg and John Marvin Jones, businessman T. Boone Pickens, Jr., gambler Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston, and music artist and composer Terry Stafford ("Amarillo by Morning"; "Suspicion"). Tom Blasingame, considered to have been the oldest cowboy in the history of the American West, worked for seventy-three years, primarily, on the JA Ranch south of Amarillo. Pulitzer-prize-winning author Mark E. Neely, Jr. was born in Amarillo on Nov. 10, 1944. In nearby Clarendon and Canyon, Texas, lived the Western artist Harold Dow Bugbee, whose early works were patronized by Ernest Thompson. Singer Lacey Brown became a household name when she advanced to the top 24 in season 8 on the hit show American Idol. She returned to the show again in season 9 where she advanced to the top 12, and was eliminated from the show on March 17, 2010.
[edit] Museums and art collections

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is an international organization dedicated to the preservation, improvement and record-keeping of the American Quarter Horse breed. The organization is headquartered in Amarillo and has a museum. There is also an American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame exhibited in the museum; among the inductees was J. L. "Dusty" Rhoades of Odessa, who served as AQHA president in 1966 and 1974. In addition, the AQHA and Center City of Amarillo co-sponsors the project, "Hoof Prints of the American Quarter Horse" which consist of horse statues located in front of several Amarillo businesses, such as the downtown Amarillo National building, Nationwide Insurance, and Edward Jones. An area business would purchase a horse statue and a local artist paints on it.

Two of the Amarillo area's higher education institutions have at least one museum in their campuses. The Amarillo Art Center , opened in 1972, is a building complex with an art museum and concert hall located on the Washington Street Campus of Amarillo College. In addition, Amarillo College's Washington Street Campus is the home of the largest natural history museum of any two-year college in the United States. Located on the campus of West Texas A&M University, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum claims to be the largest historical museum in Texas.

Don Harrington Discovery Center, located in the city's hospital district, is an interactive science center and space theater with over 60 hands-on exhibits. Outside of the building is a steel structure called the Helium Monument which has time capsules and designates Amarillo the "Helium Capital of the World." Near the proximity of the Discovery Center, the Amarillo Botanical Gardens has gardens, indoor exhibits, and a library for visitation throughout the year.

The Texas Pharmacy Museum claims to be the only Texas museum specialized in the research, collection, preservation, and exhibition of the history of pharmacy, is also located in the city's hospital district.

Other notable museums in the area are the Kwahadi Kiva Indian Museum and the English Field Air & Space Museum. The Kwahadi Kiva Indian Museum features a collection of Native American artifacts and provides dance performances. Sadly, the English Field Air & Space Museum, which had been operated by the Texas Aviation Historical Society featuring aircraft and space exhibits, is now closed. Visitors can peer through the chainlink fence and see some of the aircraft still sitting there. The museum's facility used to be city's main airport terminal.

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