Amarillo College

By: James D. Hamlin

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: November 1, 1994

The original Amarillo College grew out of several college-level classes conducted in Amarillo by Willis D. Twichell. In 1897 Twichell and James D. Hamlin purchased two store buildings and moved them to a four-block tract. The buildings were made into an assembly hall and four classrooms, and simple equipment was installed. Four directors of the new institution chose Hamlin as the president, and when the school opened in September he, Twichell, Maud Tannehill, and Mrs. James Bolton composed the first faculty. At the beginning of the second semester Twichell retired, and Hamlin induced four former classmates from the University of Kentucky to join the faculty; one of them, Russell Briney, combined his teaching duties with his pastorate of the local Disciples of Christ church. Although none of the faculty received stated salaries, all shared the school's revenue, which was derived wholly from the tuition fee of five dollars a month per pupil. The ambitious curriculum included natural sciences, history, Latin, Greek, English, an introductory course in law, and classes in physiology and hygiene. Mrs. Bolton headed the music department.

Hamlin resigned the presidency in 1909, and Briney continued the institution for one more year. In 1910 Hamlin sold the buildings to S. S. Lightburne, who moved them near the old Potter County Courthouse and converted them to offices. The four-block campus was reconveyed to Henry B. Sanborn for a consideration of $600. The site, now occupied by the post office and Federal Building, is in the heart of the city of Amarillo, although at the time of its operation the college was a mile from town.

James D. Hamlin, The Flamboyant Judge: As Told to J. Evetts Haley and William Curry Holden (Canyon, Texas: Palo Duro, 1972).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

James D. Hamlin, “Amarillo College,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 24, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994