Heritage, Summer 2004 Page: 19
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To roud, young contractor, E.S. Berry, wrote these words
to hi-i ughter a quarter of a century after he had completed
his mission to build the Landergin House in Amarillo.
Lik M , who continued to think about the residence long
after he had worked on the project, others who see the building
have written about it, photographed it, and used it as the
subject of artwork. The photographs show why the building
The Landergin-Harrington House, named for its only two
private owners, looms from its large grounds: four city lots
fronting Polk Street upon which the residence and garage
rest, and three city lots to the rear of the buildings that serve
as the residence's gardens.(2) Situated in the Plemons addition
of Amarillo, just south of the city's central business district,
the Landergin-Harrington House is one of the few Polk
Street mansions that remains on Amarillo's main thoroughfare.
The street was once serviced by a streetcar and lined
with many turn-of-the-century homes.
The people who had these residences built were, like the
Landergin family, prosperous and influential in Amarillo's
relatively brief history. Founded in 1887, the town (named
for the Spanish word meaning "yellow") quickly rose from
the flat High Plains of the Texas Panhandle in sharp contrast
to the deep canyons that are close by. Coronado explored
this remote and still sparsely populated area in the 16th century,
inhabited by huge buffalo herds and the Indian tribes
that hunted them, and traversed by cattle trails. The region
was permanently settled by people
who were attracted by cheap land
and wide-open spaces. Into this
vast land came John and Pat
The sons of Irish immigrants
who had come to the United States
in the 1840s, the Landergin brothers
attended school and worked on
their parents' dairy farm in Oxford
County, New York, until 1870.
Then, Pat, age 16, and John, age
14, decided to go west, hiring on as
trail drivers on several cattle drives
throughout the Southwest. By
1875, the brothers had settled in
Eureka, Kansas, and soon after had
acquired three ranches comprising
2,600 acres. In 1886, Pat married
Mary Louisa Corbin of Oxford,
New York, and the couple had two
daughters, Alice born in 1889, and
Harriet Ann born in 1891 (who
died in 1898). By the turn-of-thecentury,
the Landergin brothers
were prosperous cattle producers
who served their community well; in particular, Pat was a
member of the Kansas legislature, trustee of two Kansas colleges,
bank director, and director of the Kansas Livestock
By 1905, however, a depressed cattle market forced the
Landergins from Kansas to the Texas Panhandle where they
sought to revitalize their herd and to recoup their losses.
Here, they acquired additional pasturelands including
200,000 acres of two famous early Texas ranches: the XIT
Ranch and the LS Ranch, upon which the family lived.
Although Pat and John established the town of Vega in 1907
and eventually owned more than a million acres in three
states, the Landergin brothers decided in 1911 to build their
family's town residence in Amarillo. This city was the largest
in the area of their primary ranching activities, with a population
of 10,000.(4) The family's new town house would be
occupied by the Landergin household, consisting of John,
Pat, his wife, daughter Alice, and several nieces and
To design and build their house, the Landergins contracted
with the architectural firm of Shepard, Farrar, and
Wiser from Kansas City, Missouri, where the cattlemen
continued to have strong business ties. The surviving complete
set of architectural drawings, dated March 22, 1913,
detail this important residence that exhibits elements from
a variety of architectural styles: segmental arched openings
and combined use of brick and stone of the Jacobean
H E R I TA G E X SUMMER 2004
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Summer 2004, periodical, Summer 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45373/m1/19/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.