301 Main St, Panhandle, TX 79068
During the 1920s and 1930s, Panhandle was home to the second largest shipping yard in the United States, second to Chicago. In 1924, Panhandle’s business leaders formed a committee to build a hotel intended to become “Panhandle’s Meeting Place” and indeed it did. Designed by Amarillo architect E.F. Rittenberry and financed by General Ernest O. Thompson, an acknowledged leader in petroleum conservation, Panhandle Inn served business travelers associated with the oil, gas, and cattle industries. Its unique pueblo revival-style architecture added to hotel’s prominence as a place to meet and do business during the oil boom. The 20,000 square foot hotel also housed businesses such as a drug store, café, and barbershop.
The Panhandle Inn closed in 1972 and has not been occupied since despite efforts to reopen the hotel. The building is structurally sound but the size of the project is overwhelming for a community the size of Panhandle. The hotel was donated to the Panhandle Inn Foundation in 2010 and they have completed an extensive clean-up and hosted several open houses to attempt to get support for its preservation. Once the site of million-dollar deals, the Panhandle Inn is now in immediate need of a complete make-over and a new life.