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Amarillo History 1922

Amarillo is the site of the Federal District Court, the Court of Civil Appeals of the Seventh Judicial District of Texas, the State District Court, the United States Weather Bureau Service, headquarters of the Live Stock Buyers and Sellers Association and has one of the eleven first-class post offices of the state, the resources of its six banks aggregate more than $13,000.000 and there are more than a quarter of a million dollars invested in public school property. The state also has two or three preparatory and business schools, one large hospital, and a bond issue has been authorized for a $220,000 county hospital and a $500,000 city auditorium. The post office, United States courts, revenue collectors and other United States officers are housed in the Federal building erected here by the Government. Postoffice receipts for the year 1919-20 were $121.722.30.

The early history of Amarillo has as its central figure a prominent Texas business and cattle man, Henry B. Sanborn. Mr. Sanborn was at one time associated with the inventor of barbed wire, and had the distinction of introducing that fencing material, against the prejudices of stockmen, into Texas, where it is now almost the sole form of fencing over the entire western section of the state. Early in the '80s Mr. Sanborn bought a large tract of more than a hundred thousand acres in Potter and Randall counties, and in 1882 enclosed the area with a wire fence of four strands. That was one of the first fenced pastures of any size in the Panhandle. After the construction of the Fort Worth & Denver City Railway, passing through the Sanborn ranch, the townsite of Amarillo was laid out on the east side of the Sanborn property. The first location was about a mile west of where the town now stands. The county voted about thirty thousand dollars to build a courthouse, and in a short time about a thousand people had located in that vicinity. Mr. Sanborn. in spite of the courthouse, was not satisfied with the location of Amarillo, and exhibited a remarkable degree of enterprise in establishing the town on his own land and at a site he deemed more eligible. According to the Texas laws the county seat, once located, could not be changed for five years.
Unable to secure the immediate removal of the courthouse, Mr. Sanborn proceeded to appropriate practically all the rest of the town, first building an expensive hotel on his site, putting up houses, laying out streets, introducing many improvements, and employing every legitimate means to influence the merchants and the residents of old Amarillo to come to his place. Gradually the old town became deserted except for the courthouse, and even the county officers lived in the new town and walked a mile each day to attend to their official duties. After the expiration of the five-year period the courthouse, too, was moved to Mr. Sanborn's site, and thus ended one of the most interesting town site wars in the state.

- History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.

Location

35° 13' 19.2" N, 101° 49' 52.68" W