Proud of its ranching and agricultural roots, Amarillo is the largest city in the Texas Panhandle and has a history of living a rugged western lifestyle. A growing city, Amarillo saw a near 10 percent rise in population from 2000 to 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Now home to over 190,000 residents and always welcoming newcomers in the area, finding Amarillo apartments for rent should come easy for those looking to live in the state where everything is bigger.
Considered to be part of the Great Plains, Amarillo was established in a way similar to other Texas cities. In 1887, when the Fort Worth-Denver City Railroad was constructed across the panhandle to connect the growing communities in the west, the town was settled by J.T. Berry. Originally named Oneida, a majority of residents decided to change the name to Amarillo (Spanish for "yellow") after the nearby lake. Although no one knows for sure, the yellow wildflowers that are prevalent in the area were probably the reason New Mexican traders gave the lake its namesake, according to the Texas State Historical Association. Many of the town's first homes were painted yellow to commemorate the name change.
Soon after, Amarillo became a small city surrounded by large ranchlands and by 1890, Amarillo had developed into one of the world's busiest cattle-shipping marketplaces. After World War I, the city's culture and industry began to develop after an opera house, airport, elevators and streetcars came to the area. However, the Dust Bowl of the 1930s crippled the ranching community here, and much of the city was forced to diversify.
Amarillo was on the forefront of manufacturing and pilot training during World War II, and between 1950 and 1960, Amarillo saw an 85 percent growth. The 1970s saw the growth of the oil industry in the area, and today, Amarillo continues to adopt the Texan way of life with its continued growth and focus on petroleum and agriculture production.
With its roots in agriculture, it should be no shock that one of the largest employers in the area is Tyson Foods, the successful poultry distributor. However, the city's economy has continued to diversify with the addition of B&W Pantex, a nuclear weapons manufacturer, according to the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce.
There are also three healthcare systems in the area that provide many career options in the medical field.
The largest school in the area is West Texas A&M University. Named one of Newsweek's "Most Beautiful Schools," students looking for Amarillo apartments near campus should begin looking for the pad that is right for them during mid-summer since many students from all over Northwest Texas will begin to come into the area looking for a place to live.
Amarillo is a very affordable town to live in. With a cost of living index at 84.5, residents here enjoy a lifestyle that is more than 15 points below the national average. A young city, the median age of the typical Amarillo resident is 33, and the 2009 median gross rent was around $650 per month.
Since Amarillo is on the original stretch of historic Route 66 there are plenty of antique shops, bars and restaurants along the historic district on 6th Avenue. A popular thoroughfare, this area is also home to many of the city's local festivals and parades.
If you are a horse lover, you have moved to the right place. Nestled in downtown Amarillo is the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum. Tickets are $6 or less, and here residents can learn about the history of Amarillo ranching and the cowboys that once populated the area with their famous quarter horses.
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