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Each of these three carriers maintained substantial freight and passenger depots and repair facilities in the city through most of the 20th century and were major employers within the community. Thompson, a decorated World War I general and a major businessman in Amarillo, was elected mayor to succeed Lee Bivins.
Thompson instituted a major capital-improvements project and worked to reduce utility rates.
Discovery of natural gas in 1918 and oil three years later brought oil and gas companies to the Amarillo area.
Many of them found employment at the nearby Iowa Beef Processors plant. Carlson, professor emeritus at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, published Amarillo: The Story of a Western Town.
In May 1982, a strong EF-3 tornado struck Amarillo's western suburbs, devastating parts of Dawn, and Bushland. Amarillo is located near the middle of the Texas Panhandle.
Early residents originally pronounced the city's name more similar to the Spanish pronunciation and his business partner Joseph F.
Glidden began buying land to the east to move Amarillo after arguing that Berry's site was on low ground and would flood during rainstorms.
However, the closure of Amarillo Air Force Base on December 31, 1968, contributed to a decrease in population to 127,010 by 1970.
In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Amarillo's population as 6.1% Hispanic and 88.5% non-Hispanic white.
Availability of the railroad and freight service after the county seat election made the town a fast-growing cattle-marketing center.
The settlement originally was called Oneida; it later changed its name to Amarillo, which probably derives from yellow wildflowers that were plentiful during the spring and summer or the nearby Amarillo Lake and Amarillo Creek, named in turn for the yellow soil along their banks and shores (Amarillo is the Spanish word for the color yellow).
Amarillo was hit by the Dust Bowl and entered an economic depression. World War II led the establishment of Amarillo Army Air Field in east Amarillo and the nearby Pantex Army Ordnance Plant, which produced bombs and ammunition.
After the end of the war, both of the facilities were closed.
Amarillo operates one of the largest meat-packing areas in the United States.