U.S. Route 66-Sixth Street Historic District
The U.S Route 66-Sixth Street Historic District runs for 13
blocks along 6th St. between Georgia and Forrest Aves. west of
downtown Amarillo, TX. Restaurants and antique stores line the
street. The district hosts a number of festivals
throughout the summer.
U.S. Route 66-Sixth Street Historic District comprises 13 blocks
of commercial development in the San Jacinto Heights Addition
west of Amarillo’s central business district. It runs
along an east-west axis through a grid system of streets between
Georgia and Forrest Avenues. Developed as an early 20th
century streetcar suburb, the district was transformed by the
establishment of a national transportation artery running
through its center. The road was originally paved with
gravel in 1921. Asphalt pavement on a concrete foundation
replaced the gravel when the road became part of federally
designated Route 66 in 1926. The commercial corridor was
the first highway constructed to carry travelers out of Amarillo
to the south and west.
The U.S. Route 66-Sixth Street
Historic District is Amarillo’s most intact collection of
commercial buildings that possess significant associations with
the highway. Featuring elements of Spanish Revival, Art Deco,
and Art Moderne design, these buildings represent the historic
development phases of this early 20th century suburb and the
evolving tastes and sensibilities of American culture.
The district is now a hub for nightlife and shopping, and the
surrounding San Jacinto neighborhood remains a vibrant center of
activity. Today, restaurants, antique stores, and specialty
shops are housed in the rehabilitated storefronts. The district
was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.
The 12 buildings described below represent many of the
significant road trends that have shaped this district along
historic Route 66 and provide an overview of the district’s
The Natatorium (The Nat Ballroom). The
Natatorium, better known as the Nat, is located at 604 South
Georgia. Built in 1922 as an indoor swimming pool in a Gothic
Revival style, the Natatorium faces West Sixth and acts as the
visual gateway to the district. High turrets at the corners and
a crenellated parapet ornament the two-story block clad in
stucco veneer. An ample pointed arch marks the primary entrance,
and windows and doors are set deep in the wall. Reflecting its
nautical theme, the north side of the building around the corner
is designed to look like an ocean-faring vessel replete with
lifeboat-like elements near the roofline.
The Nat was
converted into a ballroom in 1926. The interior was redesigned
in an Art Deco style adding some Art Deco ornamentation and neon
lighting. The pool was covered by polished maple flooring giving
space for a small stage and a dance floor on the first floor.
The second floor was adapted with new sitting areas and private
After hosting headliners like Tommy Dorsey and
Duke Ellington, the Nat closed its doors in the 1960s. The
adjoining Alamo Bar, which was built in 1935 and connects to the
Nat by tunnel, is still open for business.
Buildings. The Bussey Buildings are located at 2713-2727 West
Sixth and were the first major commercial buildings in the
district. Built in the late 1920s, the modest strip of
commercial buildings consists of four storefronts with large
glass display windows and dark brick with limestone detailing.
The building’s most famous occupant was the San Jacinto Beauty
School, which received Texas’ first beauty license. The beauty
school occupied the store from 1941 to 1964.
Buildings. The Cazzell Buildings are located across the street
from each other at 2806 and 2801 West Sixth. W.E. Cazzell
purchased the one-story brick building at 2806 West Sixth in
1918 and operated a general store and post office. When he sold
the building in 1922, he commissioned a new two-story one across
Borden’s Heap-O-Cream. Borden’s Heap-O-Cream
at 3120 West Sixth is a one-story frame building with Art
Moderne detailing such as oval plate glass windows, 3-lite wood
double doors and a rounded metal awning on front and sides.
Preservation Amarillo and the San Jacinto Boy Scout Troop
rehabilitated the building in 1990. The grandson of the original
sign painter provided plans to aid in replication of color,
dimension, and style.
Adkinson-Baker Tire Company. The
Adkinson-Baker Tire Company is located at 3200 West Sixth. This
service station was built in 1939 and is fronted by a projecting
canopy over the pump island. The station originally housed the
Adkinson-Baker Tire Co.#2 and exclusively sold Texaco gas. It
was sold in 1945 and became the Theo A. Bippus Service Station.
The Adkinson Baker Tire Company is one of three extant historic
stations in the district and has been virtually unchanged since
it opened in 1939.
Carolina Building. A fine example of
Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, the Caroline Building at
3313-23 West Sixth is divided by brick piers into eight, glass
storefronts. Built in 1926, it is one of the earliest examples
of strip commercial buildings in Amarillo. Original occupants
included an auto paint firm, a barbershop, beauty shop and a
drug store. The red tile pent roof runs the length of the
building and shades the store entrances and display windows. The
parapet features cast concrete coping broken by several gables.
Dutch Mill Service Station and Café. The Dutch Mill Service
Station and Café has been in operation since 1932 at 3401 West
Sixth. This seemingly plain looking building may fool visitors,
but it has just as much character as some of the flashier
places. The stuccoed walls are pierced by a glass paneled door,
plate glass windows, and a roll down garage door. Ornamental
crenellations grace the building, which originally featured a
large Dutch windmill at its curbside to attract passing
motorists. Until the 1950's this building housed both the
service station and the café, which later expanded into the
larger building at 3403 West Sixth.
Station. Taylor’s Texaco Station is located at 3512 West Sixth.
Built using the standard Texaco design developed by Walter D.
Teauge in 1937, this one-story station clad in white porcelain
has a projecting canopy over the pump island and also houses an
office, two service bays, and restrooms. One of the first
standardized gas station designs, the basic formula and red star
motif provided instant recognition for the motorist in search of
Martin’s Phillips 66 Station. Martin’s
Phillips 66 Station at 3821 West Sixth operated from the 1930s
to the 1990s. The earliest facility at this site included the
corporation’s standard issue Tudor Revival style cottage,
designed to blend in with a residential neighborhood. The
building survived on the site until after construction of the
current facility in 1963. Designed to catch the eye, its
replacement exhibits exaggerated modernistic features including
an office with canted plate glass walls, angled service bay
entrances, and a soaring triangular canopy over the pump island.
Herb Martin operated the station through all the changes in
styles and marketing. Martin assisted many Route 66 travelers
during the 1930s, giving gas to some and allowing those without
money for lodging to spend the night at the station.
Hubbell Duplex. Prominent local architect Guy Carlander designed
the Hubbell Duplex at 3912 West Sixth in 1925 for Mr. and Mrs.
Hubbell, who owned Hubbell Diamond T Truck Company. At the
western end of one of Amarillo’s busiest streets, the house
typifies the modest housing built during the city’s boom years.
The dark brown brick dwelling features typical Craftsman details
such as battered brick piers supporting the twin entry
porticoes. The duplex remains virtually unchanged since its
San Jacinto Fire Station. Located at 610
South Georgia, the San Jacinto Fire Station was built in 1926 to
serve the rapidly growing population of the San Jacinto area.
The one-story brick building was designed in Mission Revival
style with a red tile roof, battered walls and curvilinear
parapets. The station served the neighborhood until 1975 and is
the only surviving pre-World War II fire station in Amarillo.
San Jacinto Methodist Church. Constructed in 1926, the San
Jacinto Methodist Church is located at 505 South Tennessee. The
church is a two-story, dark brown brick building with a pediment
entryway supported by square brick pilasters with a double
limestone stringcourse below the cornice. The double entry doors
sit below an arched stained glass transom. When Sixth Street was
widened in 1924, the church lost its original entry stairway.
The original concrete steps lead to Sixth Street and were
flanked by a broad balustrade capped in cast stone. Today, the
main entrance is on South Tennessee and flanked with pipe
railings. The south façade of the church features four sets of
paired wooden double hung, narrow stained glass windows, with
two pairs of the same windows lighting the east and west sides
of the entry. A large two-story brick building was added in the
rear that houses the present sanctuary and educational