Here we go

If you've ever wanted to be a part of what we do at NEST well here's your chance! I've recently taken possession of the historic NAT and cannot wait to bring Amarillo their first Indie Coop! No worries, I'll still be keeping NEST as my personal outlet, but would like to invite you fellow creative types to be a part of our new branch at the NAT. We still have a lot of details to hammer out as far as rental prices, events, etc. but if you would like to go ahead and put your name on the reservation list I only need a few details- Email your name and contact info. as well as a general idea of what size and product you would want to sell to (this can be as large or small as you'd like, and items can be vintage, new, handmade, big, small, whatever!) Also, don't think this binds you by any means. The reservation is simply to hold a place for you just in case this concept blows up, which we think it will, and we get overbooked. You can cancel this later on if you would like once we release further details. 

Now if you are unfamiliar with the NAT, no worries, there is a plethora of information out there about it. (I've attached my favorite article about it below.) What we know for sure is that it's remained an Amarillo Landmark since it was erected in 1922 and we couldn't see it possibly condemned. The building sits on the corner of 6th and Georgia so drive on by if you'd like to check it out for's the kind of castle looking venue. 

The Natatorium, commonly known from its beginning as "The Nat," was originally built to house an open air community swimming pool, (36' by 101'), when it opened in July of 1922. It was designed by a well-known Amarillo architect, Guy Carlander, and was a very popular place to escape the Pan Handle heat!  In fact, it was covered in 1923 so the pool could  be used all year around. 

However, 4 years later in 1926, The Natatorium was bought by J. D. Tucker who drained the pool, built sub-flooring  and laid down 10,000 square feet of maple flooring on top of the pool, creating a fantastic dance floor and stage for Tucker's new dance palace / night club.  The interior was decorated by Beaux Arts Studio. A second floor was added and part of it was used at some point as gambling rooms, sometime during the building's history.  Bands, such a Ell Hoover and his Orchestra, were hired to play dance music for people who had paid 5 cents a ticket, for each dance.

Throughout its history, The Nat was also rented out for special events, parties, fundraisers and banquets, which provided additional income as well.

During the Depression years,  an Amarillo businessman, Harry Badger, had some new ideas on improving The Nat. Harry bought the building, and renamed it, The Nat Dine and Dance Palace.  He added the fortress architecture to the front in 1935, and built a unique entrance to the dance hall area, which not only opened up easy access for the public from route 66, but was also led to the newly created dining area, The Nat Cafe. 

He greatly added to the The Nat's commercial value, attracting more people who were looking for a place to have a fine dinner and entertainment as well.  Many quality orchestras under the Music Corporation of America played here, much to the pleasure of the public. Orchestras such as the Dorsey Brothers, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and Guy Lombardo offered their musical performances for dance floor activity and dinner music!  At its height of popularity, The Nat had 52 employees working there.

In the 1940's, Dr. William Maddox bought The Nat, and continued to offer quality music. Servicemen based at the Amarillo Air Force Base enjoyed hanging out here, where many met their future wives. 
During the 1950's, early rock in rollers such as Little Richard, Roy Orbison, The Crickets and Buddy Holly entertained their fans.  

In the 1960's, The Nat closed as a public dance hall, though it was still used for occasional concerts,  and of course for community events. 

In 1994, The Nat was placed in the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1995 it was declared a Texas Historical Landmark.  Money became available to carefully renovate this place of happy memories.  The second floor became an antique mall for awhile and The Nat Cafe space became a used book shop, which Tom and I visited.  The old ballroom still hosts various musical bands and groups on occasion, such as the Dixie Chicks, and people in the community still use the building for special events.


  1. Wow- so, SO excited about this! There is so much potential in that place and I'm sure you will make it awesome! Love that you are doing a co-op as well. Can't wait to visit. Lubbock is needing something like this.

  2. thank you so much for your kind words..they are greatly appreciated!