Amarillo is a living history book. The city is smack dab on the Mother Road of Route 66 in what used to be the Wild West. When you poke around in our history, you'll find that there's a couple of names that frequently pop up in the books. One of these is a gentleman named Cornelius Taylor Herring who left his mark downtown and in a very big way.

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The Herring Hotel

You may have passed it a million times while driving downtown, or you may be new to town, like I am. Either way, chances are you've seen the beautiful Herring Hotel. The beautiful aging brick tower sits unoccupied on 3rd and Pearce streets. It's a grand building with a few boarded up windows and is under tight lock and key thanks to the police department next door.

The building stands as a reminder of Amarillo's early days as a cattle and oil town and it tells the stories well. Some locals even say that the building is haunted. But I'll say this: even in old photos the mezzanine looked like it was amazing.

herring hotel amarillo
Herring Hotel on Facebook

Cornelius Herring and his grand hotel

Let's start at the beginning. The Herring Hotel finished construction in 1927 after two years and a $1 million dollar price tag (that's a whopping $14 million today!). At the time, it was the tallest building in Amarillo with 14 floors and carried the honor of being one of three buildings that were built during the Panhandle's oil boom. The owner, Cornelius Herring, wanted a place where business could get done in town with style and flair. And that's exactly what he made sure he got. The basement was home to the famous "Old Tascosa Room" which was lined with pinewood walls and murals by H.D Bugbee--a local artist who's works are still on display at the Panhandle Plains Museum today. Much of the early wheeling-and-dealing that helped make Amarillo what it is today was done inside the Herring Hotel's walls.

Eventually all good things come to an end. The Herring Hotel closed in 1966 and, like many older structures, got repurposed. In the 1970's, the hotel was converted to an office space to be used by the government. This lasted only a few years before it was again left vacant and unused in 1978. Some of the photos show this wonderful building has potential still.

The Herring Hotel Today

The building has been owned by Robert Goodrich since 1988. Don't bother trying to get in, the Amarillo Police Department sits right next door and happily keep an eye on the historic building. However, there is the opportunity to take a tour. You can check out the Facebook page dedicated to its preservation.

Honestly, it would be cool to see the Herring Hotel brought back to life. With all the revitalization going on downtown, why not? Its location is a convenient walking distance to the civic center and the Globe Center for Performing Arts. In my opinion, it would make a great showcase for the city and help bring more reasons to visit downtown.

Check Out The Original Names For These Amarillo Streets

It's hard to imagine these well-known Amarillo streets as any other name. Try to imagine giving directions to someone while using their original names. Gets tricky, doesn't it?

The new names (that we currently know them by) came mostly from associates of Henry Luckett, who drew the first map of the area. When this took place exactly, records do not show, but the street name revamp is covered extensively in 'Old Town Amarillo' by Judge John Crudgington, published in the Plains Historical Review in 1957.

The Abandoned St. Anthony's Hospital on Amarillo Boulevard

The 119-year-old abandoned hospital is a fascinating place for any who are lucky enough to be granted the chance to explore.

The sprawling building saw thousands of Amarillo's citizens inside its halls daily, all the the way until it was shuttered in 2001. But there are still incredible artifacts of the all-too-recent past tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the old St. Anthony.

The explorer who took these photographs gave the following information:

"Many rooms were left untouched, we found patient files, old prescriptions, a blood transfusion machine from the 60s, and microscopic slides of breast cancer from the 70s and 80s. I put one picture in here of some heart scans so you can see the dates and diagnosis of the patient, but marked out the patient’s names of course. During a time when mental illness was not understood, 76 exorcisms were documented to have been performed between 1909 and 1931."

Take a look inside the halls of the legendary abandoned St. Anthony's hospital

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