Tag Archives: Herring Hotel

Sometimes old makes way for new

polk street

This picture is of a building that’s coming down on Polk Street,  near Seventh Avenue, in downtown Amarillo.

A friend of mine, Wes Reeves, snapped it and posted it on social media earlier today.

I’ve known Reeves for many years and I have developed a keen affection for his own love of local history and things that are old and worth preserving.

Reeves loves old buildings. He believes communities must honor their past by doing all they can to preserve those vestiges of history.

He also noted as he posted this photo that there’s some good news accompanying the demolition of something old. It is that Amarillo is getting something new: a brew pub that is planned to be built in the city’s evolving downtown business-and-entertainment district.

Which brings me to the point here.

It is that the city is changing its central district personality.

Is the city going to forsake every single shred of history? Good heavens, no!

Amarillo already has preserved the historic Fisk Building and turned it into a classy hotel. Potter County has renovated the exterior of its courthouse, along with restoring and reviving the Santa Fe Building. There will be plenty of other restoration projects ahead; I’m hoping — along with the rest of the city — for eventual restoration of the Barfield Building and the Herring Hotel.

The new features, though, ought to be as welcome here as efforts to preserve the old ones.

And no doubt about it, we’re getting plenty of new business.

Yes, downtown is changing. That change necessarily means we have to make way for the change. If it involves the occasional removal of something old that no longer is functional, well, I’m all for that, too.

Let the change continue.

Downtown revival far from total


I have made no secret of my enthusiastic support for the steps Amarillo has taken toward the revival of the city’s downtown business district.

It’s been dramatic and at some level actually breathtaking. The construction activity along Buchanan is a sight to behold. The Potter County Courthouse restoration is a thing of beauty. Polk Street looks healthier than it has in the past 20 years.

I am awaiting the groundbreaking of the downtown ballpark, which I hope occurs sometime this year — and that we’ll get some high-quality minor-league baseball in the shiny new venue.

Downtown’s revival, though, isn’t as comprehensive as perhaps it ought to be.

If you venture just a bit west along Sixth Avenue and north along Harrison, Tyler or Van Buren streets, you see signs of lingering urban blight.

Yes, we have that crappy-looking Barfield Building at the corner of Sixth and Polk. And the Herring Hotel building, which was supposed to have been sold to a deep-pocketed investor with big plans to bring it back to life? Well, that project has suffered another setback.

I am aware that the downtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone has boundaries. The TIRZ area sets aside property value increases to develop downtown projects. A good bit of the area just outside those boundaries seems to cry out for attention.

Weeds are sprouting along sidewalks. Parcels of land have gone unattended.

It looks bad, boys and girls.

While I will continue to cheer on any and all efforts to revive downtown, which is essential to the city’s future growth — indeed, its very future — my hope is that attention can be focused on those areas just beyond the blocks that are getting all this tender loving care.

I will keep the faith that the city will spread its TLC to blocks in dire need of it.

Is the Herring Hotel really coming back to life?


Robert Goodrich purchased the Herring Hotel in downtown Amarillo in 1988 as an investment opportunity.

Now he says he’s got investors lined up to turn the once-opulent night spot into some semblance of its former glory.

He’ll announce — possibly soon — who those investors are along with plans to turn the long-abandoned Herring Hotel into a gleaming downtown jewel.


Lame-duck City Councilman Brian Eades, who’s leaving office this summer, said he has seen the plans. He added that local investors are lined up to foot the bill for the project.

Do we know the cost? Do we know the precise details of what it will take to restore the Herring? No.

I’m one of those who hopes the Herring can be restored. It’s good,, though, to temper one’s hope with a dose of reality.


The hotel has been vacant for a long time. I’ve seen the first floor. It’s a mess. There will be a lot of modernization required to bring the building up to snuff.

But yes, it’s a beautiful structure.

Bob Goodrich has told me on many occasions that the building can be restored, renovated and reincarnated.

Eades apparently believes in Goodrich’s dream. Others involved with city government aren’t so sure. The Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone board kept Goodrich dangling for years before denying his request for financial help this past year.

However, Goodrich — a retired academician — hasn’t given up.

He has said once again that he’s persuaded investors to pony up the cash to get the job done on the Herring.

Let’s hope for the best.