Real Estate in The Wild West of Amarillo circa 1880

Pamela Madore

Keller Williams Realty

Real Estate in The Wild West of Amarillo circa 1880

Real Estate Auction in Amarillo

I get curious a lot and I wondered what real estate sales looked like when Amarillo first came about.   I got this information from a lot of different places so I don’t guarantee it is all accurate.  Louis L’Amour is my favorite author, too, so you never know what could pop up. Let’s just say it is an overall composite fact and fiction (mostly fact). 

Potter County was organized August 30, 1887 at which time it had 164 voting citizens.  It is 30 miles square and contains 630,000 acres of land of which 325,000 are school lands that can be taken up by settlers and prospectors in tracts of from 160 to 640 acres.

I always wondered why we have this Potter/Randall line in the middle of Amarillo but I didn’t find the answer.  A guy named Randal named the county Randall.  In the register they spelled his name wrong.

Amarillo was the hub for the railroad and cattle, therefore it grew. Hotels and brothels and saloons and all sort of shenanigans went on.  It was called Old Town then and is located in the Buchanan/3rd and 4th areas.  Somewhere along the line it was changed to Central City.

It was said that if a man of means and business minded and willing to work could build a house today that would be worth $10,000 in ten years.

#16 School Sections

The Amarillo Champion newspaper dated May 17, 1888 states the following,

“If an immigrant or a prospector desires to take up a section of land in this county, all he has to do is to come here and willing men will take him out and show him lands free of charge, and assist him in filing on a good section.  There are at this time 180 school sections taken up under the law of 1888”

The Public Sale of Town Lots is pretty self-explanatory.  I find it interesting that we still auction land and houses on the last Tuesday of the month.  It is an auction so no prices are registered.

Section 16 of each township was reserved for “maintenance of public schools within said township.” In the land ordinance, the township is not a civil township but a surveying unit: a six mile by six mile square, divided into 36 one square mile sections.
Barbecue after auction


Although the first name in the county records is not Henry Sanborn he is known as “the father of Amarillo:.
Current Day Sanborn Park
The Sanborn House

Henry Sanborn


You may be able to read some of the things in the old newspaper print but you can see that Town Lots were sold at a pubic sale in Amarillo.  You could take the train from Ft. Worth north to Amarillo or from Deven City south to Amarillo.  

On the Panhandle Real Estate Exchange, there are a couple of interesting things in that article. First, you will notice that there was a real estate broker involved who weren’t on commission.  You will also notice that there was financing available–at 12% interest.  That was the most allowed by law.  

The next article was for an auction of lots.  The winner of the auction got his choice of location.  If the purchase did not exceed $100 cash was due that day.  If the purchase was over $100 , half was due at the auction and the rest was due in 6 months.   Anything over $200 required 1/3 cash at the auction, 1/3 in 6 months and the balance in 12 months.

All deferred payments to draw 10% interest from date of saleThe best part is the Free Barbecue On The Day Of The Sale

Pamela Madore

The Pamela Madore Group

Keller Williams Realty

3955 S. Soncy

Amarillo, TX 79119



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