While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


H. Allen Anderson

VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTER, AMARILLO. The Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Amarillo was technically the first facility to occupy land that later became part of the Harrington Regional Medical Center. The hospital, originally called the Veterans Administration Hospital at Amarillo, was built as a result of a vigorous campaign spearheaded by George Broome, who helped form the Panhandle-Plains Association of the American Legion soon after World War I. Congressman John Marvin Jones became the project's biggest booster and introduced an amendment to the bill providing medical care for wounded servicemen, that called for locating a veterans' sanatorium in Potter or Randall County. Although this first attempt died in the Senate, Jones finally accomplished his goal after the Veterans Administration was established in the 1930s. A six-story hospital with 156 beds was completed in 1939 at a cost of $1 million. At its formal opening on May 12, 1940, the facility was heralded as one of the most modern in the nation. The Gray Lady Corps of the Red Cross supplied the hospital's first volunteer work force in October 1940. After the United States entered World War II the number of beds was increased to 187; recreation and physical therapy facilities were added in 1946. After the Korean War ended in 1953, the hospital was among those considered for closing due to budget cuts, a move recommended in 1955 by the Hoover Commission. However, the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce, backed by the American Legion and other veterans' groups, fought successfully to keep it open. Over the next twenty years several expansion and renovation projects served to modernize the facility, which provides general medical and surgical treatment and alcohol rehabilitation and vocational rehabilitation services for veterans. In 1987 a new $17 million clinical addition opened, and the original facility was later remodeled. In 1989 the hospital's name changed to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Capacity for the hospital in 1993 was 141 beds with an additional 120 beds provided in a nursing home care unit opened in 1990. Clinics in Amarillo and Lubbock saw 107,000 outpatients in 1992. A staff of 660 provided services to an area comprising forty counties in the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, Kansas, and New Mexico.

Amarillo Globe-Times, June 26, 1987. Amarillo Sunday News-Globe, January 18, 1976.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, H. Allen Anderson, "VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTER, AMARILLO," accessed May 27, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/sbv02.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...