Port Neches, Texas
Port Neches, Texas
Location of Port Neches, Texas
|• Total||9.12 sq mi (23.63 km2)|
|• Land||8.63 sq mi (22.35 km2)|
|• Water||0.49 sq mi (1.27 km2)|
|Elevation||16 ft (5 m)|
|• Density||1,511/sq mi (583.4/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1375534|
Port Neches is a city in Jefferson County, Texas, United States. The population was 13,040 at the 2010 census, down from 13,601 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Beaumont–Port Arthur metropolitan area.
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The area known as Port Neches was once inhabited by tribes of the coastal-dwelling Karankawa and Atakapa Native Americans. Smith's Bluff (the future site of Sun Oil and Union Oil of California riverside property) and Grigsby's Bluff (now Port Neches) were the only two high land bluffs on the Neches River south of Beaumont. Before 1780, Grigsby's Bluff, specifically that part of Port Neches immediately east of Port Neches Park, had been a Native American town for at least 1,500 years, at first of the Karankawa tribe, whose 7-foot (2.1 m) skeletons were often found in the burial mounds there; and after 1650 of the Nacazils, a sub-tribe of the Attakapas, who were a short and stocky people before their extinction about 1780. As of 1841, there were six large burial mounds at Grigsby's Bluff, size about 60 feet (18 m) wide, 20 feet (6.1 m) tall, and 100 yards (91 m) long, consisting entirely of clam and sea shells, skeletons, pottery shards, and other Native American artifacts. Between 1841 and 1901, all six of the mounds disappeared, a result of human actions. Grigsby's Bluff became a post office in 1859 (there was also a store and sawmill there), but the office was discontinued in 1893.
Port Neches was the site of Fort Grigsby, a set of Civil War-era defenses intended to stop a Union advance up the Neches River. The fort was constructed in October 1862 and abandoned sometime after July 1863. Its guns, munitions, and stores were moved to the then-unfinished Fort Griffin, the site of the Second Battle of Sabine Pass, often credited as the most one-sided Confederate victory of the American Civil War.
A pioneer of Port Neches was Will Block, Sr., born on August 2, 1870. In 2003 his son, W. T. Block Jr., was appointed a Knight of the Royal Order of Orange-Nassau for his work in reconstructing the history of Dutch settlers in the area.
The city of Port Neches was incorporated in 1902.
Through its history, Port Neches has had a special relationship with the natural environment, particularly the Neches River. From agriculture and timber to oil and synthetics, the city has depended heavily on the river as its lifeline. Today, the greater Neches River Basin is an international attraction for "experiential" tourism; whether that be fishing, hunting, birding, boating or many other out-door experiences that are abundant and readily available.
The Oak Bluff cemetery, located near the river, is the burial site of famed country music singer and actor Tex Ritter.
TPC Group's Port Arthur Refinery, a chemical processing facility, was opened in 1944 by Neches Butane Products Co. On November 27, 2019, two explosions occurred at the plant injuring at least eight people, three of them plant workers who were treated in hospital. Several buildings, including homes, were damaged in Port Neches and the surrounding area. The blasts started a chemical fire that prompted a mandatory evacuation of approximately 60,000 residents from several nearby cities. The fire was finally put out on December 3 after burning for six days. The next day air monitors posted elevated levels of butadiene, prompting a second evacuation.  The explosions occurred just days after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) eased chemical plant safety regulations.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.1 square miles (23.6 km2), of which 8.6 square miles (22.4 km2) are land and 0.50 square miles (1.3 km2), or 5.39%, are water.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,601 people, 5,280 households, and 3,975 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,490.4 people per square mile (575.2/km²). There were 5,656 housing units at an average density of 619.8 per square mile (239.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.75% White, 0.93% African American, 0.47% Native American, 1.57% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.18% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.07% of the population.
There were 5,280 households out of which 34.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.6% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.7% were non-families. 21.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $47,523, and the median income for a family was $53,729. Males had a median income of $43,089 versus $27,847 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,273. About 4.4% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.
Government and infrastructure
The Effie & Wilton Hebert Public Library is the community library. It was named after Mr. Wilton Hebert, who sponsored the construction of the current library. It originated with a bookmobile service established in 1930 managed by the Tyrell Public Library of Beaumont, as the Jefferson County Commissioner's Court had requested a library for people outside of Beaumont and Port Arthur the previous year. The Jefferson County Library System established a one-room library facility between 1932 and 1934, sponsored by the Lion's Club. In 1966 the George Boyd Memorial Library, named after Port Neches city employee George Travis Boyd, opened; the Port Neches city council approved of its construction in 1964. It had a cost of $75,000 with $10,000 from the municipal government. It was across from the Port Neches city hall. The current library building had its groundbreaking on Thursday, October 15, 1981, and opened on November 12, 1982.
- L.Q. Jones, Actor
- Andrew Landry, professional golfer who has played on the PGA Tour since 2016
- Invent, Animate, a Metalcore band
- Tex Ritter is interred at Oak Bluff Memorial Park.
- Lee Hazlewood, American country and pop singer, songwriter, and record producer
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- Christine Rappleye. "That's 'Sir' W.T. Block to you guys". The Beaumont Enterprise. May 29, 2003.
- "About Port Neches". Ci.port-neches.tx.us. 2010-06-22. Archived from the original on 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
- Jacob Dick; Kim Brent; Monique Batson; Ronnie Crocker; Kaitlin Bain (November 27, 2019). "SE Texas town rocked by chemical plant explosion". Beaumont Enterprise.
- "3 hurt at Texas chemical plant hit by 2 massive explosions". Miami Herald. November 27, 2019. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
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- Miranda Green (21 Nov 2019). "EPA finalizes rule easing chemical plant safety regulations". The Hill.
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- "Post Office Location - PORT NECHES." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.
- "History." Effie & Wilton Hebert Public Library. Retrieved on February 15, 2019.