Port Arthur, Texas

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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
County Jefferson
Government
 • Type Council-Manager
 • City Council Mayor Derrick Freeman
Osman Swati
Cal J. Jones,
Thomas Kinlaw III
Willie "Bae" Lewis Jr.
Raymond Scott Jr.
Kaprina Frank
Charlotte Moses
Harold Doucet Jr.
 • City Manager Brian McDougal
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 (2010)
 • Total 53,818
 • Density 645.6/sq mi (250.5/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. A small portion extends into Orange County. It is ninety-one miles (146 km) east of Houston. It is host to the largest oil refinery in the United States (the 600,00 bpl Saudi Aramco - Motiva refinery).[3]

The population of Port Arthur was 53,818 at the 2010 census. Early attempts at settlements in the area had all failed. However, in 1895 Arthur Stilwell founded Port Arthur, and the town quickly grew. Port Arthur was incorporated as a city in 1898 and soon developed into a seaport. It eventually became the center of a large oil refinery network.[4] The Rainbow Bridge across the Neches River connects Port Arthur to Bridge City.

History[edit]

Aurora was an early settlement attempt near the mouth of Taylor Bayou on Sabine Lake, about 14 miles (23 km) long and 7 miles (11 km) wide. It 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 in 1837, and in 1840 promoters led by Almanzon Huston were offering town lots for sale. Some were sold, but Huston's project failed to attract many settlers. The area next was known as Sparks, after John Sparks, who moved his family to the shores of Sabine Lake near the site of Aurora. The Eastern Texas Railroad, completed between Sabine Pass and Beaumont, Texas, passed four miles west of Sparks. However, the American Civil War soon began, and rail lines were removed. In 1886, a destructive hurricane hit the coast, causing the remaining residents to dismantle their homes and move to Beaumont. By 1895, Aurora had become a ghost town.[5]

Arthur Stilwell led the resettling of the area as part of his planned city of Port Arthur. Pleasure Island now separates the city from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The 18.5-mile (29.8 km) man-made island was created between 1899 and 1908 by the Corps of Engineers to support development of the port.

Arthur Stilwell founded the Port Arthur Channel and Dock Company to manage the port facilities. The port officially opened with the arrival of the British steamer Saint Oswald in 1899. (The ship would later sink in 1915, after colliding with the French battleship Suffren during World War I.)

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.[6]

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.[7] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 143.8 square miles (372.4 km2), of which, 82.9 square miles (214.7 km2) of it is land and 60.8 square miles (157.5 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.[8]

Climate data for Port Arthur, Texas (Jack Brooks Airport) 1981–2010
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)
Average 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)
Average 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
Average relative humidity (%) 79.0 76.6 76.2 77.1 78.7 79.0 80.7 80.3 79.3 76.9 78.0 79.6 78.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 135.5 168.5 188.1 203.2 262.9 284.6 281.7 258.6 231.9 241.3 184.8 148.9 2,590
Percent possible sunshine 42 54 51 53 62 68 66 63 63 68 58 47 58
Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)[9][10] The Weather Channel (record temperatures)[11]

Demographics[edit]

2010 census data[edit]

As of the 2010 census,[12] there were 53,818 people, 20,183 households, and 13,191 families residing in the city. The population density was 654.6 people per square mile (250.5/km²). There were 23,577 housing units at an average density of 284.4 per square mile (109.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 41.7% African American, 37.9% White, 1.2% Native American, 6.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 15.3% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 29.6% 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%
Est. 2016 55,427 [13] 3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]

There were 20.183 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 19.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.31.

In the city, the population had 27.0% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.3 years. For every 100 females there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.1 males.

2000 census data[edit]

As of the census of 2000,[1] 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).[15] This $10.0 billion project is the largest US refinery expansion to occur in 30 years.[15] 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.[16]

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,[17] successive waves of economic recession caused much distress in the town. The central business district has many boarded up and vacant locations.

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,[18] 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.[19] The hotel closed down in the mid-1980s.

The Port Arthur News reported August 28, 2010, that "DWA (Digital Workforce Academy) Buys Sabine Hotel",[20] 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.[21]

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.[22][23] The true center of commercial activity has gravitated from downtown to other areas.[24] 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.

Government[edit]

Delta Queen moored in front of City Hall

The Mayor of Port Arthur is Derrick Ford Freeman

The county operates the Port Arthur Sub-Courthouse in Port Arthur.[25]

The United States Postal Service operates the Port Arthur Post Office,[26] the Port Acres Post Office,[27] and the Sabine Pass Post Office in Sabine Pass.[28]

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. Some parts are served by Port Neches-Groves 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.[29]

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.[30]

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.[31]

Infrastructure[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Air[edit]

The Jack Brooks Regional Airport in Port Arthur serves Beaumont and Port Arthur.

Bus[edit]

Local bus service is provided by Port Arthur Transit.

Tropical Cyclones[edit]

Pleasure Island damage from Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Audrey[edit]

In June 1957, Hurricane Audrey made landfall just east of Port Arthur in Cameron Parish, Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane. The storm caused extensive wind damage around the city and significant storm surge flooding just east in Southwest Louisiana.

Hurricane Rita[edit]

On September 24, 2005, Hurricane Rita made landfall between Sabine Pass, Texas and Johnson Bayou, Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane. A wind gust of 116 mph (187 km/h) was recorded in Port Arthur. The storm caused widespread significant wind damage throughout the city, with power outages lasting several weeks in some locations. Some areas of the city also received flooding due to Rita.[32]

Hurricane Humberto[edit]

On September 13, 2007, Hurricane Humberto made landfall west of Port Arthur as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm moved northeast across the Golden Triangle, causing widespread wind damage; however, most of the damage was relatively minor. An 84 mph (135 km/h) wind gust was recorded at the Southeast Texas Regional Airport just northwest of the city.[33]

Tropical Storm Edouard[edit]

On August 5, 2008, Tropical Storm Edouard made landfall just west of Port Arthur. The effects felt in the city were light; however, wind gusts up to 55 mph (89 km/h) were recorded.[34]

Hurricane Ike[edit]

On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall on Galveston Island as a Category 2 hurricane. Due to the storm's unusually large size, effects were widespread and were felt across much of Southeast Texas. Port Arthur sustained significant wind damage and much of the city's residents lost power. Fortunately, the Port Arthur seawall protected the city from the major flooding that surrounding cities experienced.

Hurricane Harvey[edit]

On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas as a Category 4 hurricane.[35] On August 29, after Harvey made a second landfall at tropical storm status, 26 inches of rain fell in a single day at the airport near Port Arthur, triggering widespread flash flooding in the city. According to the Port Arthur mayor Derrick Freeman, 20,000 homes were flooded with up to 6 feet of water. On August 30, Freeman posted on Facebook, "Our whole city is underwater right now."[36]

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. ^ "Tropical Storm Harvey Closes America's Biggest Refinery". Maritime Executive. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2017. 
  4. ^ Port Arthur incorporates- Retrieved 2013-09-10
  5. ^ Wooster, Robert. "AURORA, TX (JEFFERSON COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online". Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ Hunt, Herschiel. The History of Port Arthur. Southern Publishing Concern, 1926.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ "Average Relative Humidity - Morning (M), Afternoon (A)" (PDF). Comparative Climatic Data for the United States Through 2012. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: U.S. Dept. of Commerce. 2013. 
  9. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  10. ^ "WMO Climate Normals for Port Arthur, TX 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 19, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Monthly Averages for Southeast Texas Regional Airport, TX". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 July 2017. 
  13. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b The Economy of Southeast Texas Home Page
  16. ^ Gonzalez, Angel (24 January 2010). "Oil Spill Hits Texas Port". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  17. ^ "Retirement and Looking Back to "the Way it Was" (economic tailspin)- Retrieved 2013-09-10
  18. ^ Sabine Hotel- Retrieved 2013-09-10
  19. ^ The Port Arthur News; Hotel Sabine foundation
  20. ^ "DWA buys Sabine Hotel", Port Arthur News, 28 August 2010, Retrieved 2013-09-10
  21. ^ "Port Arthur hotel could meet its doom", My Fox Houston, 11 November 2011, Retrieved 2013-09-10
  22. ^ Sanders, Ashley. "Plant expansions to create a housing boon", The News. August 21, 2006. Retrieved on September 23, 2010.
  23. ^ Rappleye, Christine. "The Beaumont Enterprise - Those who recall bustling downtown Port Arthur are still around; old way of life isn't Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.." The Beaumont Enterprise. September 23, 2007. Posted June 11, 2008. Retrieved on September 23, 2010.
  24. ^ "Port Arthur" Archived 2013-12-03 at the Wayback Machine., Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities, Retrieved 2013-09-10
  25. ^ "Jefferson County, Texas Phone Director." County of Jefferson. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  26. ^ "Post Office Location - PORT ARTHUR." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.
  27. ^ "Post Office Location - PORT ACRES." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.
  28. ^ "Post Office Location - SABINE PASS Archived 2012-05-13 at the Wayback Machine.." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  29. ^ Pastorella, Cody. "New PA Charter School provides Hope to area students." The Port Arthur News. September 20, 2010. Retrieved on September 23, 2010.
  30. ^ Texas Education Code, Section 130.179, "Galveston College District Service Area Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine.".
  31. ^ [1]
  32. ^ Hurricane Rita Analysis
  33. ^ Hurricane Humberto Analysis
  34. ^ Port Arthur, Texas Hurricanes
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External links[edit]