Located in the heart of the historic district, the Amarillo Natatorium has evolved many times since it first became an establishment. When it was built in July of 1922, the Nat was the site of a large indoor swimming pool. It served the community for four years.
The Amarillo Pool turned Roaring Dance Club
In 1926 a gentleman named J.D. Tucker purchased the Nat and decided to turn it into a dance palace. The pool was covered by a large wooden floor, and jazz musicians and flapper girls flocked to the building. Enter the Great Depression.
Due to financial hardships, Tucker had to sell the Nat. Harry Badger purchased the property and added a café in 1935. For a long time business boomed, and the dance floor was never empty.
During the 90s, the Natatorium was purchased by a new owner and converted into an antiques mall. It was during this time when visitors and management began to notice a random but consistent temperature drop near the second floor landing. That area was used for gambling when the Nat was still a dance palace.
A handful of other guests claimed to have heard strange noises and whispers throughout the building. Puzzled and concerned, a psychic was brought in to shed some light on the situation. The medium was convinced that the spirit of a woman haunted the former gambling hall.
Today, the Natatorium is a registered historic landmark. The building’s primary purpose still continues to be an antiques mall. However, bands are still asked to perform on occasion.
A Historic Building with a Historic Ghost?
Janet (Name changed for privacy), an Amarillo native, was ecstatic when the Nat got converted into an antiques mall. “I remember having to work that day, but I called in sick that morning, I was so excited,” she said, laughing at the memory. “I was one of the first in line when they opened the doors that day.”
“It was so strange seeing the once famous dance hall turned into a shopping center. I began to explore the entire building, from top to bottom. Everything seemed fine, seemed normal, until I stood at the bottom of the stairs,” Janet frowned.
“I started to get the eerie feeling like I wasn’t alone, looking up at the ancient staircase. It’s hard to describe, and hard to mention without sounding totally crazy…But it almost felt like something outside of my body was compelling me to walk up onto the second floor.”
“I went up, one stair at a time, and all the while it felt like somebody was whispering ‘yes, yes’ in my brain. Now, I don’t know what they use on the second story now, but on that first day it was dark and unused,” Janet flicked her shoulders up. "It was nearly impossible to see up there.
“Walking around a corner, I suddenly saw this pale woman in the middle of the room, shrieking in abundant pain. I was so shocked and scared, I began shrieking too, calling for anybody on the first floor to come get me. I heard heavy footsteps on the stairs, and then a manager appeared, and rushed to turn the lights on.
“The room was flooded with light and that’s when I saw a white, female mannequin standing in the center of furniture and goods. When I explained what I had seen, the man looked from me to the mannequin and back at me like I was crazy,” Janet sighed. “I know it may sound that way…but I really do believe Amarillo is haunted, and the ghost likes to hide out at the Natatorium.”