Once A Sandie,
 Always A Sandie





History of Amarillo High School

Amarillo High 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.

The Fire

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 dollars.

The approximately 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 Sandies

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.”

Works Cited

Amy Boardman. "Echoes in the halls: Amarillo High campuses." Amarillo Globe News 22 Oct. 1989: F2.

Jason Akst. "Fire shatters Amarillo High on a quiet Sunday morning." Amarillo Globe News 22 Oct. 1989: F2.

Bill Teeter. "AHS mascot was born on windblown ball field." Amarillo Globe News 22 Oct. 1989: F2.



Copyright 2002, Amarillo High School Class of 1954


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