• 1

    Heritage Preservation

  • 2

    Impressionist Autumn

  • 3

    Dark Energy

  • 4

    Harvest

  • 5

    Crack Of Day

  • 6

    A Road Less Traveled

Helium Time Columns Monument

The Helium Centennial Time Columns Monument was erected and dedicated in 1968 in order to commemorate the discovery of helium gas near Amarillo. The sixty-six foot high stainless steel structure was originally located northwest of the intersection at I-40 and Nelson where the American Quarter Horse Association headquarters is located today.  During 1982, the monument was flown from that location by helicopter to its current location. You can read more about the extraordinary move in an article from the Amarillo Globe-News

The monument was designed to house four time capsules in each of the columns with each capsule to be opened in increments of 25, 50, 100, and 1,000 years from the date it was erected.  More than 1,000 items were placed in the capsules and preserved in helium gas. The first time capsule was opened during a two day celebration in May 1993 and the contents are now housed in the Don Harrington Discovery Center located just north of the monument. The monument also includes a depiction of the helium atom at the juncture of the four columns and the whole structure including the concrete base it sits on serves as a sun dial.

The United States government began production of the rare element in Potter County during 1929 yielding the largest reserve ever discovered to date. This led to the City of Amarillo to promote itself as The Helium Capitol of the the World. You can read more about helium production in the United States and how it became so important to the Amarillo region by The Handbook of Texas.

The US Department of the Interior still manages a reserve of helium administered by the Bureau of Land Management with field offices in Amarillo. Want to learn more about the second most abundant element in the universe?  Read more about helium here.