A Longhorn steer. A cowboy hat. Bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas.
All of these iconic images of the Lone Star State were incorporated in the official city flag of Amarillo, which was adopted in 1941.
Over the decades, the flag was all but forgotten until it was discovered recently in a book called “In the Cattle Country: History of Potter County.”
Written by historian Della Tyler Key, the book describes the history of Potter County and the Texas Panhandle from 1887 to 1966.
The green, hardcover book belonged to the library of local philanthropist Ann Crouch.
After her death in January 2017, the Crouch Foundation was created according to her last wishes to continue her legacy and support her vision for a vibrant visual arts community, now called Arts in the Sunset.
A small black-and-white image of the flag was printed in the opening pages of the book, along with a detailed text description. The challenge was to reproduce the flag in color based upon the tiny black-and-white image and written description.
The Crouch Foundation contracted local Arts in the Sunset artist Chris Johnson to create the flag. “I took the black and white image and redrew it to hopefully reflect a better image while keeping true to the previous black-and-white image,” Johnson said. “I was given a text description from a 1940-era presentation of it which identified the colors. I asked how much latitude I had in perhaps changing the colors, but was encouraged to stay true to the text description.”
Three copies of the flag have been produced, one for the city, one for the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce and another for Arts in the Sunset.
Don Judd, executive director of the Crouch Foundation and Arts in the Sunset will present two copies of the flag to the Amarillo City Council and Amarillo Chamber of Commerce at noon, Tuesday, April 2 during the public comment portion of the regular City Council meeting.
Col. Edward W. Raley, commanding officer of Amarillo Army Field, designed the flag. The flag is a royal blue field with a narrow band of red near the edge and bordered by a gold fringe. In the center of the flag is a sphere containing the continent of North America in white, with red star showing the location of Amarillo.
At the top of the sphere appears the name Amarillo in large white letters, together with the traditional Longhorn steer head, also in white. On each side of the sphere is a spring of bluebonnets in white. The flag is encircled with gold fringe.
Completing the design, the lower part of the flag contains the words, “In Charta,” which means “Amarillo on the map.”
Arts in the Sunset is funded by The Crouch Foundation and features the work of nearly 50 local artists in an atrium setting.
Arts in the Sunset also holds events that bring together the visual arts with music and food at events such as the First Friday Art Walks.
Arts in the Sunset is located at 3701 Plains Blvd. For more information, call 806-310-2600 or visit artsinthesunset.org.