Amarillo's Nat Ballroom Reopens as Antique Mall
AMARILLO (AP) _ Tourists from all over know Amarillo's Sixth Street, old Route 66, for its shops full of collectibles and treasures.
However, the biggest antique on Sixth Street, the one with the most stories to tell, has been under wraps for some time.
That's changing. The Nat Ballroom will soon be open once again for business.
The dance hall _ which spanned the Roaring '20s, the Big Band era and the early days of rock'n'roll _ will reopen as an antique mall, tea room and museum.
Jamie and Mike Cavins, who own the Sixth Street Antique Mall, bought the Nat Ballroom and the adjoining building and are renovating them.
Sixth Street is the popular name of a section of Sixth Avenue that runs through the Amarillo neighborhood of San Jacinto.
The adjoining building _ the old Nat Cafe, most recently known as the Alamo Lounge _ will be used as the entrance to the Nat and also, as part of the antique mall, Jamie Cavins said.
Nat Antiques will open June 1, if not sooner, she said. The outside restoration will take longer.
"We think it's one of the most important pieces of history in Amarillo, with so many memories for some many people," she said of the Nat.
With the restoration already under way, the Nat's 10,000-square-feet of maple hardwood dance floor is coming into view. The entire downstairs covers 12,600 square feet, Mike Cavins said.
As the work continues, nothing is thrown away. The two are preserving the bits and pieces of the multicolor canopies, which used to drape the dance floor and upstairs dining room. Also, they are saving the bandstands, booths, tables and the few remaining panels of deco art.
The Nat's ancient air cooler with its huge fan, and the wooden ducts that carried the cool air, are still intact and can be made to work again, Jamie Cavins said.
The Cavinses opened a small shop on Sixth Street about 12 years ago. They have owned and operated the Sixth Street Antique Mall for about 10 years. Jamie Cavins is a former president of the Sixth Street Merchants' Association.
Sixth Street is Texas' most intact collection of commercial buildings associated with early Route 66. The area is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, the antique shops on Sixth Street attract people from across the United States and from many other countries. …