Port Arthur, Texas

Port Arthur, Texas

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City of Port Arthur
settlement_type = City
nickname =
motto =

imagesize = 250px
image_caption = Port Arthur


mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Port Arthur, Texas

mapsize1 = 250px
map_caption1 = U.S. Census Map

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Texas
subdivision_type2 = Counties
subdivision_name2 = Jefferson

government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title =
established_date =

unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 372.3
area_land_km2 = 214.8
area_water_km2 = 157.6
area_total_sq_mi = 143.8
area_land_sq_mi = 82.9
area_water_sq_mi = 60.8

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 57755
population_density_km2 = 268.9
population_density_sq_mi = 696.5

timezone = Central (CST)
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 2
elevation_ft = 7
latd = 29 |latm = 53 |lats = 6 |latNS = N
longd = 93 |longm = 56 |longs = 24 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP codes
postal_code = 77640-77643
area_code = 409
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 48-58820GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 1384151GR|3
website =
footnotes =

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 57,755 at the 2000 census.

Geography and history

Port Arthur is located on the western bank of Sabine Lake. The Rainbow Bridge across the Neches River connects Port Arthur to Bridge City. Port Arthur was founded by Arthur Edward Stilwell in the late 19th century, and was once the center of the largest oil refinery network in the world. Hunt, Herschiel. "The History of Port Arthur". Southern Publishing Concern, 1926.] Port Arthur experienced an economic decline under the corrupt administration of Mayor J.P. "Pink" Logan. Mayor Logan was indicted in December 1931 on election fraud charges. Logan's disgrace inspired the "Clean Government Movement", established by Logan's primary adversary, W.C. Welch. Hunt, Herschiel. "The History of Port Arthur". Southern Publishing Concern, 1926.] The efforts of the Clean Government Movement ultimately led the Texas Legislaure to establish the James Committee. The James Committee, headed by Dallas Representative Tom James, identified corruption and graft at all levels of Port Arthur's municipal government and law enforcement.

In the 1940s there was an influx of middle class African Americans - most of them coming from neighboring towns, this led to what is often referred to as white flight where many whites moved to neighboring towns such as Port Acres, Nederland, Port Neches, and Groves; by the late 1950s the city was segregated. The African Americans were forced to the west part of town. There the city built the Carver Terrace housing unit for low income African Americans. By the 1970s African Americans were able to purchase homes on the other side of the KCS Railroad and many Black families moved to other parts of the city. According to the 2006 census, 60% of the city is currently African American.

Port Arthur produced singing legend Janis Joplin, artist Robert Rauschenberg and Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson. In the last two decades, Port Arthur's profile has risen on the hip-hop scene with the emergence of the legendary 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.

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway runs past the city, separated from Sabine Lake by Pleasure Island. The 18.5 mile man-made island was created from dredged material from 1899 and 1908 Corps of Engineers projects.

Port Arthur is located at coor dms|29|53|6|N|93|56|24|W|city (29.884864, -93.939902)GR|1.

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.



As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, 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/sq mi (115.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 20.02% White, 43.70% African American, 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 25.45% of the population.

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 65 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, including 35.2% of those under age 18 and 14.4% of those age 65 or over.


Communities in Port Arthur include:
*Griffing Park
*Pear Ridge
*Port Acres
*Sabine Pass


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 Port Arthur Public Library, at 4615 9th Avenue at Texas State Highway 73, serves as the public library system for the city. [http://www.pap.lib.tx.us/]


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


After decades of stagnation and neglect in the area economy, Port Arthur is in the early stages of an economic boom. 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.

Home to a large chunk 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 [ [http://www.setx.org/html/economy.php The Economy of Southeast Texas Home Page ] ] . This $6.7 billion project is the largest US refinery expansion to occur in 30 years [ [http://www.setx.org/html/economy.php The Economy of Southeast Texas Home Page ] ] . Premcor Refining (Now Valero) recently 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.

Poor activity

Long past its heyday in the early 1900s, successive waves of economic recession have delivered a nearly vacant, boarded up, and sometimes dangerous central business district. The Hotel Sabine, the tallest building in Port Arthur, was abandoned and purchased by the city. An attempt to sell the building failed in 2005, with no interested buyers. 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 [ [http://www.panews.com/archivesearch/local_story_233195307.html PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas - Plant expansions to create a housing boon ] ] [ [http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18775793&BRD=2287&PAG=461&dept_id=512588&rfi=6 The Beaumont Enterprise - Those who recall bustling downtown Port Arthur are still around; old way of life isn't ] ] . The true center of commercial activity has gravitated towards the junction of US 69 and Texas 365, with larger white-collar businesses moving to downtown Beaumont. As of 2008, the last downtown banking establishment, Capital One will relocate to Texas 365, which coincides with the closing of the last pharmacy, Walgreens, and the last grocery store, Lucky 7. Several municipal and county offices have moved in to fill the void.

Air pollution

Port Arthur also has a significant air pollution problem that some believe has an impact on the health of its residents.Fact|date=September 2007 Others have had no signs, symptoms or problems related to local air pollution. There are 4 large industrial complexes in the southern part of the city. These factories can have "upsets", incidents where a dangerous situation at the plant necessitates the release of thousands of pounds of air toxins, often volatile organic compounds or nitrogen oxides, the two major contributors to ground-level ozone." [http://web.archive.org/web/20070514012400/http://www.kpft.org/news/080802story4.html "Port Arthur Stinks. Story by David Stiles."] KPFT-FM, retrieved January 31 2007] The chemicals are run through flares that incinerate almost all of the substance through combustion, but still emit dangerous amounts. The high incidences of asthma and cancer among residents in western Port Arthur is often attributed to the frequency and magnitude of the upsets. Fact|date=September 2007

Tropical cyclones that affected Port Arthur

Hurricane Ike

Tropical Storm Edouard

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 were recorded. [ [http://www.hurricanecity.com/city/portarthur.htm Port Arthur,Texas Hurricanes ] ]

Hurricane Rita

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

Famous natives of Port Arthur

* Jimmy Johnson: Super Bowl and NCAA winning football coach has a street in the city in honor named Jimmy Johnson Boulevard
* Evelyn Keyes (actress) : played Suellen in Gone With the Wind
* Janis Joplin: iconic American singer.
* Pimp C & Bun B formed the rap group UGK in Port Arthur.
* Stephen Jackson: NBA Basketball Player, NJ Nets, SA Spurs, Dallas Mavs, Golden State Warriors
* Jonathan Babineaux: NFL player
* Jordan Babineaux: NFL player
* Kevin Everett: NFL player, Thomas Jefferson High School, University of Miami, Buffalo Bills.
* Aaron Brown: Univ. of Minn., NFL Kansas City Chiefs, Super Bowl MVP. High School two-time Basketball All-State, played one year of football and made All-State Fullback.
* Jamaal Charles: University of Texas runningback, drafted in 2008 by KC Chiefs, 2nd round.
* G.W. Bailey: Actor
* Tommy Smiley: Lincoln High School, Lamar University, Cincinnati Bengals.
* Douglas Clark: sculptor
* Marilyn Goudeau Guidry: author of the cookbook "The Best of Everything"
* Amy Acuff: five-time US Outdoors high jump champion
* Eric Alexander: NFL player
* Clifford Antone: blues club owner
* James Gamble: All-American Basketball in college, SWAC Hall of Fame, street named after him in Port Arthur.
* Harry Gunner: College All-American Football and Basketball in JUCO; MVP of the Hula Bowl; Number 1 in NFL draft, chosen by Cincinnati Bengals; was on the front page of "Sports Illustrated".
* Pat "Hawk" Hardy: Martial Artist
* Xavier Hernandez: Baseball player
* Barbara Jacket: Lincoln High Coach, Prairie View Coach, Olympic Coach.
* Robert Rauschenberg: artist
* Lee Richards: Lincoln High School, Southern University, No. 1 baseball draft pick. chosen by St. Louis Cardinals. Was on the front page of "Sports Illustrated."
* Rudy Robbins: Western actor, singer, songwriter, and stuntman who grew up in Port Arthur but was born in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana
* DJ Premier: Accomplished music producer
* Joe "Joe Boy" Washington: Oklahoma, Redskins, San Diego (How could you forget "Joe Boy"? One of NFL Best Monday Night performances.) fact|date=June 2008
* Ken Webster: actor, director
* "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias: athlete and Olympic gold medalist
* Gerald Williams: State High School Recordholder for most state championships( track and field)
* Sherry Yeager Thorup: Location Manager, Film & Television fact|date=June 2008
* Lynn Jackson: Meteorologist fact|date=June 2008
* Chuck McElroy: MLB pitcher
* Todd Dodge: Head Coach UNT, former coach Southlake-Carrolton HS


External links

* [http://www.portarthur.net/ City of Port Arthur, Texas]
* [http://www.greatereasttexas.com/a6.aspx/ Historic Article on Port Arthur (WWII)]
* [http://www.codysewell.com/historical.html Lots of historical Port Arthur photos]

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