Guy Anton Carlander left his architectural thumbprint on buildings in Amarillo and around the country. He was responsible for the art deco designs of schools, courthouses and landmark buildings and also designed many of the hotel for the Santa Fe Railway Co.
Art deco, a geometric architectural style from the late 1920s and 1930s, flourishes in tiny Texas Panhandle towns, thanks to Carlander’s use of the style.
He trained in Chicago and liked to keep in contact with big city architectural styles, according to a Texas Tech University survey of the history of engineering and technology in 1984.
“His goal in life was to make Amarillo the biggest city between Dallas and Denver,” Anna Morales, a Texas Tech researcher, told United Press International in a 1984 interview. “Art deco – it looks big city. It’s so jazzy, so trendy.”
Carlander sometimes incorporated frontier scenes in his art deco buildings. Examples of his work are found in the courthouses in Potter, Collingsworth and Cottle counties.
He was born in Pratt, Kan., and graduated from Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kan., and also attended the University of Kansas. He worked in the architectural department of the Santa Fe Railway in Chicago before serving in the Army in 1918 at Edgewood Arsenal, Edgewood, Md., where he supervised construction of buildings and worked in specialized manufacturing. During his military service he was promoted from private to second lieutenant.
In 1919 he rejoined Santa Fe and moved to Amarillo from Edgewood. In 1920, Carlander opened his architectural office in Amarillo. After designing and supervising construction of the Fisk Building, he moved his office there until about 1930, when he built his atelier at 4614 Bushland.
Included in his works in Amarillo was the design for the Old Tascosa Room at the Herring Hotel. In the early 1930s, while Palo Duro Canyon was still under the National Park Service, he designed and supervised construction of El Coronado Lodge on the Canyon Rim. Later, Carlander worked with S.B. Whittenburg to make Palo Duro a state park.
In 1930 Carlander served as secretary of Amarillo’s first planning and zoning commission. He helped to improve Llano Cemetery, and he donated his architectural services in designing and constructing the Llano Cemetery administration building, superintendent’s home and pump house.
Carlander was a longtime member of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society. The 1973 “Panhandle-Plains Historical Review” contains some sketches that he made of early-day structures in the area that have long since disappeared.
He was a member of First Baptist Church, a charter member of the Amarillo Country Club and a past president of the Amarillo Rotary Club. He also was a past president of the Panhandle Chapter of the Texas Society of Architects.
In 1935 he married Mary Lile of Waco. Carlander died April 19, 1975.