While working on a blog post for KETR-FM radio on a county courthouse restoration project in Fannin County, my memory drifted back to an earlier project in Potter County that involved the disposition of a piece of military hardware.
The hardware was an M-60 battle tank that saw duty during Operation Desert Storm, the Persian Gulf War, in 1991. It sat in front of the Potter County Courthouse in Amarillo for a number of years. It was painted in “desert camo” colors and was quite the draw.
Then the county applied for a grant from the Texas Historical Preservation Board to restore the courthouse to his original condition. One problem cropped up: the board couldn’t allow the tank to remain on the courthouse grounds, given that it wasn’t “historically accurate.” The tank had to go.
The tank was moved in 2011 to the Freedom Museum in Pampa, about 60 miles northeast of Amarillo.
According to County Judge Nancy Tanner, they moved the tank “very cautiously and tenderly” to the museum. The move was orchestrated by a former Marine, Paul Chaney, who is a good friend of Tanner and former Potter County Judge Arthur Ware, another Marine who saw combat duty during the Gulf War.
Ware bristled initially at the Historical Preservation Board restriction on the tank. He relented finally, allowing the tank to move to the Freedom Museum, which houses assorted military memorabilia.
I recalled the tiff that Ware got into with the historical preservation folks.
I thought it would be worth remembering this episode, given that we have just honored our veterans for their service to the country. I also am gratified to know the M-60 tank that once greeted visitors to the Potter County Courthouse in Amarillo has found a good home just up the road a piece.