HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 1954
History of Amarillo High School
School first opened in 1889 in a
two-room structure that had also
served as the first Potter County
Court House. The building received
several new additions (including a
salon) to accommodate the rapidly
growing Amarillo area. The over-crowded school house was abandoned
in 1889 when the Amarillo settlers
built a new City Hall at
1200 South Polk Street and rented
it to the School Board for the
price of $1.00. The building
became known as Red Brick and
included accommodations such as
horse and donkey stalls.
In 1906, Red
Brick was too small for the
ever growing student population,
known as the Amarillo High Savages.
The school moved to a new location
at 500 Johnson, which housed the
school for only a few short years,
until in 1910 a new building was
constructed at 1300 S. Polk. That
building was also soon abandoned
when the original Red Brick
was torn down in 1921 to make room
for the structure that was to
serve as the Amarillo High School
residence for almost 50 years.
In 1970, on an
early Sunday morning in March, a
fire raged through the building.
It first began in a second story
storeroom, caused by a overheated
boiler below, and soon spread to
damage nearly all of the structure
and destroy most of the property
inside. Several courageous, yet
foolish students arrived on the
scene first and began removing
textbooks, trophies, class gifts,
art pieces and other artifacts
from the burning building.
Fortunately, no one was injured in
the fire. The damage was estimated
at the time to be nearly 2 million
1,700 Amarillo High School
students spent the remainder of
the year in makeshift classes set
up in nearby Churches and the
undamaged school gymnasiums and
armory. The experience created a
bond among the students, who were
grateful not to be farmed out to
another high schools in the area.
Renovations in the burned out
building accommodated students for
the next three years until a new
high school could be built.
From Savages to
On a windy spring
day in 1922, the Amarillo High
"Savage baseball team was
practicing in the windblown sand
of the old professional baseball
stadium of the now-defunct
Amarillo Grays. Coach, Astyanax
Saunders Douglas shouted
encouragement to his team.
According to the former shortstop,
Winfield Windy Nicklaus,
Douglas barked, Come on you
golden sandstormers, come on now,
bear down. The team immediately
adopted the new name and became
the Amarillo High Golden
Sandstorm aka the
Sandies. Later that school
year, at a ceremony during a
Downtown Rotary Luncheon, coach
Douglas christened the AHS teams.
Sprinkling a football with sand,
he said, As from now and
henceforth, all the athletic teams
of Amarillo High School will be
known as the Golden Sandstorm.
"Echoes in the halls:
Amarillo High campuses."
Amarillo Globe News 22 Oct.
Jason Akst. "Fire
shatters Amarillo High on a
quiet Sunday morning."
Amarillo Globe News 22 Oct.
Bill Teeter. "AHS
mascot was born on windblown
ball field." Amarillo Globe
News 22 Oct. 1989: F2.