Located at 510 Polk St. – currently an empty lot across from Amarillo National Bank’s parking garage – McLoughlin Boot Shop was once home to one of the most respected bootmakers in West Texas. Cowboys would ride as far as 300 miles to purchase handcrafted boots from Merton McLoughlin. A native of Ireland, the bootmaker came to America in 1854 and lived in Chicago, St. Louis, and Fort Worth. By the time he landed at the Matador Ranch in Motley County, McLoughlin’s reputation for fine boots was well-known among cowboys. His boots were easily recognized by a distinctive red-and-white cross-stitch on the tops. McLoughlin established his Amarillo shop in 1892 only to have it burn in the huge fire of 1901. He rebuilt at the same location and operated there for the next 26 years, as shown in this photo of the shop’s work area from around 1913. Merton McLoughlin, wearing a black vest and bowtie, stands near the central wooden post. He died in 1936 and is buried in Llano Cemetery.
by Jason Boyett
Jason is a journalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, and the author of more than a dozen books. His most recent is “12 World Religions: The Beliefs, Rituals, and Traditions of Humanity's Most Influential Faiths”, published by Zephyros Press. Learn more at jasonboyett.com.