I didn't mean to fall down the rabbit hole of history on South Polk street.

It just happened.

I knew the houses on South Polk were 'historic', but up until recently I simply called them "old money pits", because most of them are. I started to change my mind when a colleague of mine put out a beautiful photographic look at the homes "then' and 'now'.

They no longer looked so 'old' to me. They had started to take on a certain elegance that I could chalk up to nostalgia. But it was a white colonial home on the 1700 block that intrigued me the most.

The Avery & Mary Turner Home

Elizabeth Ann Marshall, Sarah Clark/TSM
Elizabeth Ann Marshall, Sarah Clark/TSM

The Colonial style is radically different from the other homes--and that's saying a lot. Additionally, I recognized the name Avery Turner because I like trains and railroad history. You see, Avery Turner worked for the Santa Fe Railway for over 50 years and his legacy is impressive.

He was the first man to ride a train into New Mexico over Raton Pass, and he also brought the first passenger train to Santa Fe, in February 1880.

He married a girl from New Jersey named Mary Honeyman Ten Eyck in 1886. They came to Amarillo, Texas in 1902 when Turner was promoted and tasked with extending the railroad across the plains.

The Turners became beloved members of the Amarillo community. "Uncle Avery", as he was called, had a hand in organizing the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce and he and his wife Mary were active members of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society. Mary Turner herself helped organize the local American Red Cross

The House 'Uncle Avery' Built

The Turners lived in a house on Third Street until they built the Dutch Colonial home at 1706 S. Polk in 1910.

The house was modeled and built after the home of Mary's parents in New Jersey. It was designed to embody the Dutch Colonial revival style of architecture and it proved to be a truly unique style to find in the region.


Avery Turner died in his home on April 14, 1933. The home stayed in the Turner family until Mary's death in 1931. The home was registered as a Texas Historical Landmark in 2011 and a plaque was installed by the Historical Commission.


As I dug through the history of the home and the Turners who built it, I found myself pausing often to marvel at just how little the home had changed over the years--when it changed hands.

The quality craftsmanship and expert design that went into building the Avery Turner home at 1706 S. Polk is an astounding testament against Time. Somewhere in my trawling of the Web to gather information on the Turner home, I found the estate listings, complete with photos, that I could use to compare the home "then" and "now".

Elizabeth Ann Marshall, Larry Brown
Elizabeth Ann Marshall, Larry Brown

And wow. What a 'Then' and 'Now' indeed.

Take a look for yourself.....

LOOK INSIDE: The Avery & Mary Turner House at 1706 S. Polk

This beautiful Dutch Colonial home is a true historic gem. It is part of the regal row of Amarillo's historic homes on South Polk. If you've ever wondered what these grand estates look like inside, here's your chance to take a peek!

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