Port Arthur, Texas

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For the Australian suburb, see Port Arthur, Tasmania.
For other uses, see PAT (disambiguation).
Port Arthur, Texas
City
Port Arthur
Port Arthur
Nickname(s): PA, PAT
Location of Port Arthur, Texas - U.S. Census Map
Location of Port Arthur, Texas - U.S. Census Map
Coordinates: 29°53′6″N 93°56′24″W / 29.88500°N 93.94000°W / 29.88500; -93.94000Coordinates: 29°53′6″N 93°56′24″W / 29.88500°N 93.94000°W / 29.88500; -93.94000
Country  United States of America
State  Texas
Counties Jefferson
Government
 • Type Council-Manager
 • City Council Mayor Deloris "Bobbie" Prince
Robert Troy
Elizabeth "Liz" Segler
Morris Albright III
Willie "Bae" Lewis Jr.
Raymond Scott Jr.
Robert E. Williamson
Derrick Freeman
Kerry "Twin" Thomas
 • City Manager Floyd T. Johnson
Area
 • Total 143.8 sq mi (372.3 km2)
 • Land 82.9 sq mi (214.8 km2)
 • Water 60.8 sq mi (157.6 km2)
Elevation 7 ft (2 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 57,755
 • Density 696.5/sq mi (268.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 77640-77643
Area code(s) 409
FIPS code 48-58820[1]
GNIS feature ID 1384151[2]
Website PortArthur.net
Aerial view of Port Arthur

Port Arthur is a city in Jefferson County within the Beaumont−Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area of the U.S. state of Texas. The population was 53,818 at the 2010 census.

After earlier settlements here failed, Port Arthur was founded by Arthur Stilwell in 1895, on the western bank of Sabine Lake, a saltwater estuary formed by the confluence of the Neches and Sabine rivers. It drains into the Gulf of Mexico. The city was incorporated in 1898, developed as a port, and later became the center of a large oil refinery network.[3] The Rainbow Bridge across the Neches River connects Port Arthur to Bridge City.

History[edit]

Aurora was located near the mouth of Taylor Bayou on Sabine Lake, some 14 miles (23 km) long and 7 miles (11 km) wide. The lake is a saltwater estuary formed by the confluence of the Neches and Sabine rivers. Through its tidal outlet 5 miles (8 km) long, Sabine Pass, Sabine Lake drains some 50,000 square miles (100,000 km2) of Texas and Louisiana into the Gulf of Mexico.

The town was conceived as early as 1837, and by 1840 promoters led by Almanzon Huston were advertising townlots. Although some lots were sold, Houston's project failed to attract settlers. The area came to be known as Sparks after John Sparks and his family moved to the shores of Sabine Lake near the Aurora townsite. The Eastern Texas Railroad, completed between Sabine Pass and Beaumont, Texas just before the outbreak of the American Civil War, passed about four miles west of Sparks. The railroad passing track at this point was named Aurora after the Huston project. The rails were removed during the Civil War. A few scattered settlers remained until 1886, when a destructive hurricane hit the coast, resulting in residents to dismantling their homes and moving to Beaumont.

By 1895, Aurora was a ghost town.[4] Arthur Stilwell led resettlement of the area as part of his planned Port Arthur (modestly named for himself), incorporated in 1898. Since the 20th century, Pleasure Island separates the city from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The 18.5-mile (29.8 km) man-made island was created from dredged material from 1899 and 1908 projects by the Corps of Engineers to support development of the port.

Arthur Stilwell founded the Port Arthur Channel and Dock Company to develop port facilities. He officially opened the port with the arrival of the British steamer Saint Oswald in 1899. This same ship sank in 1915 after colliding with the French battleship Suffren during the Great War.

When oil was discovered in the region, Port Arthur developed for a time as the center of the largest oil refinery network in the world.[5]

Geography[edit]

Port Arthur is located at 29°53′6″N 93°56′24″W / 29.88500°N 93.94000°W / 29.88500; -93.94000 (29.884864, −93.939902) east of Houston.[6] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 143.8 square miles (372.3 km²), of which, 82.9 square miles (214.8 km²) of it is land and 60.8 square miles (157.6 km²) of it (42.32%) is water.

Communities[edit]

Communities in Port Arthur include:

Climate[edit]

Port Arthur is tied with Lake Charles, Louisiana and Astoria, Oregon, as the most humid city in the contiguous United States. The average relative humidity is 90% in the morning, and 72% in the afternoon.[7]

Climate data for Port Arthur, Texas (Jack Brooks Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 86
(30)
90
(32)
95
(35)
94
(34)
101
(38)
106
(41)
108
(42)
108
(42)
105
(41)
99
(37)
94
(34)
86
(30)
108
(42)
Average high °F (°C) 62.1
(16.7)
65.4
(18.6)
71.9
(22.2)
78.2
(25.7)
84.7
(29.3)
89.7
(32.1)
91.7
(33.2)
92.2
(33.4)
88.3
(31.3)
80.7
(27.1)
71.7
(22.1)
63.8
(17.7)
78.4
(25.8)
Average low °F (°C) 43.4
(6.3)
46.8
(8.2)
52.5
(11.4)
59.3
(15.2)
67.2
(19.6)
72.9
(22.7)
74.4
(23.6)
74.2
(23.4)
69.9
(21.1)
60.7
(15.9)
51.9
(11.1)
44.9
(7.2)
59.8
(15.4)
Record low °F (°C) 11
(−12)
10
(−12)
20
(−7)
32
(0)
45
(7)
53
(12)
61
(16)
58
(14)
45
(7)
30
(−1)
22
(−6)
12
(−11)
10
(−12)
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.25
(133.4)
3.58
(90.9)
3.53
(89.7)
3.21
(81.5)
5.22
(132.6)
7.09
(180.1)
5.94
(150.9)
5.35
(135.9)
5.93
(150.6)
5.58
(141.7)
4.40
(111.8)
5.28
(134.1)
60.37
(1,533.4)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.5 8.7 7.4 6.2 6.6 10.0 11.4 11.1 8.9 7.5 8.1 9.5 104.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 136.4 169.5 189.1 204.0 263.5 285.0 282.1 257.3 231.0 241.8 186.0 148.8 2,594.5
Source: NOAA (1981−2010)[8] HKO (sun only, 1961−1990)[9] The Weather Channel (record temperatures)[10]

Demographics[edit]

As of the 2000 census,[1] there were 57,755 people, 21,839 households, and 14,675 families residing in the city. The population density was 696.5 people per square mile (268.9/km²). There were 24,713 housing units at an average density of 298.0 per square mile (115.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 43.70% African American, 39.01% White, 0.45% Native American, 5.89% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 8.88% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.45% of the population.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 900
1910 7,663 751.4%
1920 22,251 190.4%
1930 50,902 128.8%
1940 46,140 −9.4%
1950 57,530 24.7%
1960 66,676 15.9%
1970 57,371 −14.0%
1980 61,251 6.8%
1990 58,724 −4.1%
2000 57,755 −1.7%
2010 53,818 −6.8%

There were 21,839 households out of which 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 19.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.25.

In the city the population had 28.7% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males. The median income for a household in the city was $26,455, and the median income for a family was $32,143. Males had a median income of $30,915 versus $21,063 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,183. About 22.9% of families and 25.2% of the population were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 35.2% were under age 18 and 14.4% were age 65 or over.

Economy[edit]

Big Arthur crane

After decades of stagnation and neglect in the area economy because of a decline in the oil industry, Port Arthur is reviving in the 21st century.[citation needed] Several large projects involving the energy infrastructure are underway or proposed, the two largest being the Golden Pass and Sabine Pass LNG terminals. These separate projects under construction in neighboring Sabine Pass have brought cumulative initial investments of $2 billion, and will employ thousands at peak construction.[citation needed]

Home to a large portion of United States refining capacity, Port Arthur is now seeing renewed investment in several key installations. Motiva Enterprises is undertaking a major addition to its western Port Arthur refinery, expanding capacity to 600,000 barrels per day (95,000 m3/d).[11] This $10.0 billion project is the largest US refinery expansion to occur in 30 years.[11] Premcor Refining (now Valero) recently[when?] completed a $775 million expansion of its petrochemical plant, and BASF/Fina commenced operations of a new $1.75 billion gasification and cogeneration unit on premises of its current installation, which had just completed its own $1 billion upgrade. These operations are supported by the Port of Port Arthur, one of Texas' leading seaports. But, Port Arthur still suffers from one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.

The city was the site of an oil spill in 2010, when an oil tanker and barge collided, causing 450,000 gallons of oil to spill into the Sabine/Neches waterway alongside the city.[12]

Central business district disintegration[edit]

The commercial center of Port Arthur was at its peak in the early 1900s. Together with the effects of suburbanization, which drew off wealthier residents to new housing away from town, gradually taking businesses with them, from 1960 until 1974,[13] successive waves of economic recession caused much distress in the town. The central business district has many boarded up, vacant locations; the empty streets have become dangerous.

Hotel Sabine[edit]

The Hotel Sabine opened at 600 Proctor Street in 1929 and operated as the Vaughn Hotel until the mid-1930s. At 118 feet, ten stories, and the tallest building in Port Arthur,[14] the building is of Beaux-Arts architecture style, built with steel-reinforced concrete and brick on 640 steel-laced wooden cypress pilings driven 60-foot into the ground. It was designed to withstand the most severe coastal storms.[15] The hotel closed down in the mid-1980s.

The Port Arthur News reported August 28, 2010, that "DWA (Digital Workforce Academy) Buys Sabine Hotel",[16] But by November 2011, there were reports that the hotel was slated for demolition. The cost of renovations were estimated at $10– 12,000,000 dollars and demolition estimates as between $500,000 to 1.2 million.[17]

Hurricane Rita struck a direct hit on the Proctor Street Seawall, and damaged many downtown businesses and homes. As economic activity picks up in the region, calls for downtown revitalization have been advanced.[18][19] The true center of commercial activity has gravitated from downtown to other areas.[20] The main shopping center is Central Mall, opened outside the downtown in 1982.

Arts and culture[edit]

Port Arthur's Museum of the Gulf Coast is recognized as the area's definitive collection of items and displays for figures from Port Arthur and the surrounding communities. Notable residents of Port Arthur included golfer/track star Babe Didrikson Zaharias, born in Port Arthur but raised in Beaumont; singer Janis Joplin, Rapper Earnest Heron, casting director/producer Whitney Valcin, artist Robert Rauschenberg, and former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, and professional athletes Stephen Jackson of the San Antonio Spurs, Kendrick Perkins of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs. In the last two decades, Port Arthur's profile has risen on the hip-hop scene with the emergence of rap duo UGK. Both members, Bun B and the late Pimp C, are from Port Arthur and often refer to their hometown in their songs.

Government[edit]

Delta Queen moored in front of City Hall

The Mayor of Port Arthur is Deloris "Bobbie" Prince.

The county operates the Port Arthur Sub-Courthouse in Port Arthur.[21]

The United States Postal Service operates the Port Arthur Post Office,[22] the Port Acres Post Office,[23] and the Sabine Pass Post Office in Sabine Pass.[24]

Education[edit]

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Most of the City of Port Arthur is served by the Port Arthur Independent School District. The portion around Southeast Texas Regional Airport is served by the Nederland Independent School District. The Sabine Pass community is served by the Sabine Pass Independent School District.

The Bob Hope Charter School is located in Port Arthur.[25]

Colleges[edit]

Lamar State College–Port Arthur, located in downtown Port Arthur; celebrated its 100th birthday in 2009. Offering a full variety of basic core curriculum classes which credits are transferable throughout Texas public universities, Lamar State College is recognized for associate programs in Commercial Music, Nursing, Legal Assistant and Process technology. Lamar State College also fields competitive teams in Men's Basketball and Women's Softball. The section of Port Arthur within the Sabine Pass School District is assigned to Galveston College in Galveston.[26]

Public libraries[edit]

The Port Arthur Public Library, at 4615 9th Avenue at Texas State Highway 73, serves as the public library system for the city.[27]

Infrastructure[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Air[edit]

The Southeast Texas Regional Airport in Port Arthur serves Beaumont and Port Arthur.

Bus[edit]

Local bus service is provided by Port Arthur Transit.

Tropical cyclones that have affected Port Arthur[edit]

Pleasure Island damage from Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Betsy[edit]

In August 1965's Hurricane Betsy, Port Arthur sustained very little damage. The city was in one of the weak spots of the hurricane. Winds only reached 26 miles per hour (42 km/h). Tides reached 2.4 feet (0.73 m) above sea level. A mere 0.02 inches (0.51 mm) of rain was recorded. Port Arthur was the only area in Texas to be damaged.

Hurricane Rita[edit]

In September 2005's Hurricane Rita, Port Arthur sustained major wind damage and some flooding.

Hurricane Humberto[edit]

Struck in the early hours of September 13, 2007, it had formed in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico and intensified faster than any other tropical cyclone on record before making landfall at High Island, Texas. The path of the eye continued northeastward and passed over Port Arthur, Nederland, Port Neches, Groves, and Bridge City, Texas at Category 1 hurricane strength. This was the second time within two years (following Hurricane Rita on September 24, 2005) that these cities experienced a direct hit from a hurricane. Hurricane Hunters reported sustained winds of 85 mph (137 km/h) about two hours after landfall. However, post-storm analysis later determined that the winds were stronger—about 90 mph (140 km/h).

Tropical Storm Edouard[edit]

On the morning of August 5, 2008, Port Arthur saw the effects of Tropical Storm Edouard. The tropical storm made landfall to the west of the city, and wind speeds of 55 mph (89 km/h) were recorded.[28]

Hurricane Ike[edit]

In September 2008, Port Arthur again sustained major wind damage, with several areas having major flooding. Ike made its final landfall near Galveston, Texas as a strong Category 2 hurricane, with Category 4 equivalent storm surge, on Sept. 13, 2008, at 2:10 a.m. CDT. Hurricane-force winds extended 120 miles (190 km) from the center. Due to its immense size, Ike caused devastation from the Louisiana coastline all the way to the Kennedy County, Texas region near Corpus Christi, Texas. The hurricane resulted in the largest evacuation of Texans in that state's history. In the aftermath, officials conducted the largest search-and-rescue operation in U.S. history. The seawall of Port Arthur protected the city from the storm surge that devastated surrounding communities such as Bridge City. Water did flow over the top of the seawall for about 30 minutes, flooding some of homes along its length with over a foot of water.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Port Arthur incorporates- Retrieved 2013-09-10
  4. ^ Wooster, Robert. "AURORA, TX (JEFFERSON COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online". Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ Hunt, Herschiel. The History of Port Arthur. Southern Publishing Concern, 1926.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Average Relative Humidity - Morning (M), Afternoon (A)". Comparative Climatic Data for the United States Through 2012. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: U.S. Dept. of Commerce. 2013. 
  8. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Climatological Normals of Port Arthur". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  10. ^ "Monthly Averages for Southeast Texas Regional Airport, TX". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  11. ^ a b The Economy of Southeast Texas Home Page
  12. ^ Gonzalez, Angel (24 January 2010). "Oil Spill Hits Texas Port". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "Retirement and Looking Back to "the Way it Was" (economic tailspin)- Retrieved 2013-09-10
  14. ^ Sabine Hotel- Retrieved 2013-09-10
  15. ^ The Port Arthur News; Hotel Sabine foundation
  16. ^ "DWA buys Sabine Hotel", Port Arthur News, 28 August 2010, Retrieved 2013-09-10
  17. ^ "Port Arthur hotel could meet its doom", My Fox Houston, 11 November 2011, Retrieved 2013-09-10
  18. ^ Sanders, Ashley. "Plant expansions to create a housing boon", The News. August 21, 2006. Retrieved on September 23, 2010.
  19. ^ Rappleye, Christine. "The Beaumont Enterprise - Those who recall bustling downtown Port Arthur are still around; old way of life isn't." The Beaumont Enterprise. September 23, 2007. Posted June 11, 2008. Retrieved on September 23, 2010.
  20. ^ "Port Arthur", Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities, Retrieved 2013-09-10
  21. ^ "Jefferson County, Texas Phone Director." County of Jefferson. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  22. ^ "Post Office Location - PORT ARTHUR." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.
  23. ^ "Post Office Location - PORT ACRES." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.
  24. ^ "Post Office Location - SABINE PASS." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  25. ^ Pastorella, Cody. "New PA Charter School provides Hope to area students." The Port Arthur News. September 20, 2010. Retrieved on September 23, 2010.
  26. ^ Texas Education Code, Section 130.179, "Galveston College District Service Area".
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^ Port Arthur,Texas Hurricanes
  29. ^ Goldstein, Richard (April 4, 2003). "Lucian Adams, 80, Is Dead; Army Hero in World War II". New York Times. 
  30. ^ "Jonathan Babineaux". NFL Enterprises. Retrieved November 2013. 
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  32. ^ Jasinski, Laurie E. (2012). Handbook of Texas Music. Texas State Historical Association. 
  33. ^ "Jamal Charles". NFL Enterprises. Retrieved November 2013. 
  34. ^ "C.J. Chenier". Cumberland Valley School of Music. Retrieved November 2013. 
  35. ^ Brown, Cody. "DUNBAR, THEODORE [TED]". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved November 2013. 
  36. ^ "Kevin Everett". NFL Enterprises. Retrieved November 2013. 
  37. ^ Halliburton, Tom (May 26, 2006). "2006 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament". PAnews.com. 
  38. ^ "Danny Gorrer". NFL Enterprises. Retrieved November 2013. 
  39. ^ Stevenson, Jane (May 14, 2013). "'American Idol':Who Should Win". Toronto Sun. 
  40. ^ Keller, R. "Lee Hazlewood". Americana and Roots Music. Retrieved November 2013. 
  41. ^ Kupper, Mike (Jan 10, 1989). "Flamboyant Figure: Auto Racing World Will Miss Fun-Loving Driver Jim Hurtubise". Los Angeles Times. 
  42. ^ "Jimmy Johnson". National Football Foundation. Retrieved November 2013. 
  43. ^ Hughes, Richard B. "JOPLIN, JANIS LYN". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved November 2013. 
  44. ^ "Evelyn Keyes". IMDB. Retrieved November 2013. 
  45. ^ "Bobby Leopold". databaseSports.com. Retrieved November 2013. 
  46. ^ Soeterik, Dick. "Narcisse: CFLAA Former CFL Player of the Week". Canadian Football League Association. Retrieved November 2013. 
  47. ^ Cooper, Roman. "UGK Inducted Into Museum Of The Gulf Coast Music Hall Of Fame". article. hiphopdx.com. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  48. ^ "Robert Rauschenberg". Museum or the Gulf Coast. Retrieved November 2013. 
  49. ^ "About Ray Strother". Dole Institute of Politics. Fall 2008. 
  50. ^ "Ken Webster". IMDB. Retrieved November 2013. 

External links[edit]