In the heyday of downtown Amarillo, the area around Eighth Avenue and Polk Street was a shopping district bursting with glitzy department stores. Levine’s, Woolworth’s, and White and Kirk competed with Blackburn Brothers, which was located in an enormous building at 810 Polk St. The brothers Walter and C.J. “Jeff” Blackburn opened a small clothing store at 104 Lincoln St. after arriving in Amarillo from Dallas in 1906. The store expanded into several different locations before occupying the building on Polk Street (shown in this photo), where it gained a reputation as one of the finest clothing stores in the Southwest. Blackburn Brothers lasted at this location until moving away from downtown in 1981.
Located across from Palace Coffee and the Paramount Building, the multi-story Blackburn Brothers store was left vacant for years but is currently being remodeled. Another brother, E.M. Blackburn, Sr., came to Amarillo in 1918 to open Blackburn Funeral Directors. Today, LaGrone-Blackburn-Shaw Funeral Directors still bears the prominent family’s name.
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.