What Was Amarillo’s Bowery? A Big Amount Of Saloons And Brothels.
Someone told me today that the library downtown was built near the part of Amarillo that used to be home to the Bowery. Being curious, I decided to do a lot of digging through articles, essays, and even a book to see what they were talking about. I think I've got an answer.
What was Amarillo's Bowery? Basically, a lot of saloons and brothels; and it was insane.
Hooch And Ladies Of The Night In Yellow City
One account that I came across regarding Amarillo's Bowery district was of a man who had ridden the train into town sometime in 1906. He got off at the depot, near the Bowery, and commented on what he saw.
A lot of old, wooden, unpainted buildings were what he saw. He claimed that close to "every other one" was a saloon. Apparently churches aren't all that Amarillo used to have on every street corner.
The Bowery was an apparently crazy district in town, close to the railroad, that catered to pretty much anyone that was in search of libation and entertainment. It wasn't always a good spirited party, though. The Bowery has its fair share of stories regarding murder, theft, and other various forms of nefarious behavior.
In fact, one guy supposedly drank himself to death after a guy offered to buy him all the whiskey he could drink. Guess he unfortunately found his limit.
The "Good Times" Weren't Meant To Last For The Bowery
In the late 1800s until the prohibition era, apparently the Bowery District in Amarillo was notorious. There are several accounts of people who came to Yellow City, during those years, and quickly left because of what was going on down in the district.
Supposedly, the Bowery was responsible, or at least partially, for Amarillo losing its bid for a college. It went to the less booze-friendly Canyon, TX.
At one point, Amarillo would go dry. It didn't last long, and the Bowery was back in business. Eventually, when prohibition began in 1911, the Bowery would just fade away.
Today, it's a far cry from its more notorious days.