The city of Amarillo grew out of a small stop where the Ft. Worth and Denver railways met. Colorado City men came to the area to set up stores and J.T. Berry came from Abilene to plan the new town. The spot was on a well-watered land on a playa that was known as Amarillo, or Wild Horse, Lake. The city was originally named Oneida, but the cattlemen called it Amarillo because of the nearby lake. The word is Spanish for yellow and the nearby soil was yellow with yellow wildflowers. The railroad men ignored the proper Spanish pronunciation of the word. Most of the people who lived in town painted their houses yellow in commemoration of the new name. The city of Amarillo became a center for the cattle business and cattlemen would regularly meet in Amarillo. Many businesses moved to Polk Street and the forty-story Amarillo Hotel was erected. The hotel served as a place for cattlemen to meet and talk. In 1890 the First National Bank was built and opened for business. Amarillo College was operated out of a building that was donated by the Sanborn family. By 1890, Amarillo was also one of the largest cattle shipping points in the nation. Amarillo Independent School District was formed in 1905.
Four U.S highways merged in the city of Amarillo by 1940. Highways 60, 87, 287 and Route 66 brought many new tourists to the city of Amarillo. This prompted to the building of numerous hotels, restaurants and curio shops. Today, Amarillo still has numerous hotels, restaurants and shopping. There are also many museums and sights to see throughout the city. The American Quarter Horse Association registers the most horses in the nation. Amarillo is home to the association and the American Quarter Horse Heritage museum. The museum is a great place to take the family and learn about the growth and history of the breed. The Amarillo Museum of Art was renovated in 2004 and has beautiful exhibitions and is open all year. The Don Harrington Discovery Center and Space Theatre is a great place to take a family of young children. The museum offers hands on exhibitions and offers special events throughout the year. Just south of Amarillo in Canyon, you will find the Texas Panhandle-Plains Historical museum. The museum is the largest historical museum in Texas. It features artwork and artifacts depiction the panhandle and plains area. The museum is on the beautiful campus of West Texas A&M University. A little further south, you will find the Palo Duro Canyon. The Palo Duro Canyon is home to an outdoor amphitheatre that comes to life every summer with the musical production of "Texas."
There are also a few odd sites to see throughout the city of Amarillo as well. Amarillo is home to Stanley Marsh, whom has erected some strange sights throughout the city. The most notable is the Cadillac Ranch. The Cadillac Ranch is located off Interstate 40 West. The Cadillacs are "planted" in the ground and covered in graffiti. The Cadillac Ranch is open all year.
If you are looking for rodeos and horse shows. The Tri-State Fair is held annually at the Tri-State Fairgrounds at 10th and Grand St. The Will Roger's Range Riders Rodeo is held annually on the weekend of the Fourth of July. They have recently moved to a new site that is located at Washington and the Loop. The Bayer Select World Show is held annually in Amarillo by the American Quarter Horse Association in the Amarillo National Center on the Tri-State Fairgrounds the last weekend in August.