Page 9 - Amarillo Senior Link Magazine Winter 2021 - Online Magazine
P. 9


          CENTER CITY OF                                            AMARILLO

       A destination that bridges our historic past with a thriving future!

       by Beth Duke, Executive Director of Center City

                 istoric downtown Amarillo   Cizon’s Jewelers to
                 has a new life thanks to    name a few.  The
         HCenter City of Amarillo.           bargain aisles of
                                             Skaggs, Levine’s,
         Amarillo’s downtown mirrors the     Kress, and
         history of the city herself: from early   Woolworth kept
         pioneer days as a railroad town to   shoppers browsing
         a thriving retail shopping district   for hours.
         in the post-World War II era to a
         decade of neglect and finally to a   Downtown
         bright future.                      was the hub of
                                             entertainment, too.    Courtesy of Amarillo Public Library
         Longtime Amarilloans will           Movie theaters on
         remember the glory days of          Polk Street included the luxurious   latest records at Cooper & Melin
         downtown.  Cars cruised up and      Paramount Theater and smaller       record store on Polk Street.
         down Polk Street.  Polk Street was   venues with the State and Victory
         the main street for shopping at The   theaters.  The late Eddie Melin   Then – in the 1960s – three things
         Marizon, White & Kirk, Blackburn’s,   welcomed airmen from the Amarillo   happened to change downtown:
         Colbert’s, Butler’s Shoes, and      Air Base and teens eager for the    •  The Amarillo Air Base closed.
                                                                                    This meant that suddenly 20,000
                                                                                    airmen from the base were
                                                                                    gone, along with their families.
                                                                                    Downtown lost customers as the
                                                                                    population plummeted.

                                                                                 •   Amarillo High School burned
                                                                                    in 1970. Students saved priceless
                                                                                    artwork and some mementos,
                                                                                    but the main buildings were a
                                                                                    total loss. As the administration
                                                                                    planned to rebuild, the census
                                                                                    showed growth in the south and
                                                                                    west instead of the center of the
                                                                                    city. The “new” Amarillo High
                                                    Courtesy of Amarillo Public Library

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