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City of Port Arthur
—  City  —
Port Arthur
Location of Port Arthur, Texas - U.S. Census Map
Coordinates: 29°53′6″N 93°56′24″W / 29.885°N 93.94°W / 29.885; -93.94Coordinates: 29°53′6″N 93°56′24″W / 29.885°N 93.94°W / 29.885; -93.94
Country United States
State Texas
Counties Jefferson
 - 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]

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.[3]

In the 1940s there was an influx of middle class African Americans, most of them coming from neighboring towns. This led to a period of white flight, with many whites moving 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's Museum of the Gulf Coast is recognized as the area's definitive collection of items and displays for personalities from Port Arthur and the surrounding communities. Notable residents of Port Arthur include singer Janis Joplin, golfer/track star Babe Zaharias, casting director/producer Whitney Valcin, artist Robert Rauschenberg, and Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson. Other professional athletes include Stephen Jackson of the NBA and Jamal Charles of the NFL. 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.

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 29°53′6″N 93°56′24″W / 29.885°N 93.94°W / 29.885; -93.94 (29.884864, -93.939902)[4].

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.

Big Arthur crane
Delta Queen moored in front of City Hall.


Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 82 85 87 94 98 100 103 108 105 95 88 84
Norm High °F 61.5 65.3 72 77.8 84.3 89.4 91.6 91.7 88 80.5 70.9 63.9
Norm Low °F 42.9 45.9 52.4 58.6 66.4 72.3 73.8 73.2 69.4 59.6 50.8 44.5
Rec Low °F 14 20 23 32 46 56 61 60 45 30 22 12
Precip (in) 5.69 3.35 3.75 3.84 5.83 6.58 5.23 4.85 6.1 4.67 4.75 5.25
Source: [1]


As of the census[1] 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 43.70% African American, 20.02% 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 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:

Government and infrastructure

The United States Postal Service operates the Port Arthur Post Office at 345 Lakeshore Drive and the Port Acres Post Office at 5897 West Port Arthur Road.[5][6]


Primary and secondary schools

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.

Colleges and universities

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 that are transferrable 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.[7]

Public libraries

The Port Arthur Public Library, at 4615 9th Avenue at Texas State Highway 73, serves as the public library system for the city.[8]


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

Local bus service is provided by Port Arthur Transit. Bus service between Port Arthur and Beaumont is operated by Beaumont Municipal Transit.


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 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.[9] This $10.0 billion project is the largest US refinery expansion to occur in 30 years.[9] 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. These operations are supported by the Port of Port Arthur, one of Texas' leading seaports.

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.[10]

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 [11][12]. 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.[citation needed] 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.[13] The chemicals are run through flares that incinerate almost all of the substance through combustion, but may still infrequently emit dangerous amounts. Any such releases are reported to the TCEQ and EPA, and are typically reported to the media through Sabine-Neches Fire Chiefs or the Jefferson County Local Emergency Planning Committee. The high incidences of asthma and cancer among residents in western Port Arthur is often attributed to the frequency and magnitude of the upsets, but could also be attributed to low general health often observed in poor areas.[citation needed]

Tropical cyclones that affected Port Arthur

Pleasure Island damage from 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.[14]

Hurricane Rita

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

Hurricane Ike

In Sept 2008, Port Arthur again sustained major wind damage, with several areas experiencing major flooding.


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Port Arthur (Texas) article)

From Wikitravel

Port Arthur [1] is in the Gulf Coast region of Texas. The town of about 60,000 sits at the bottom right corner of the state. Its downtown was devastated in 2005 by Hurricane Rita. The city is flanked by oil refineries and by water. Both provide interesting scenery and jobs to the locals.

  • Buu Mon Buddhist Temple, 2701 Procter, +1 409 982-9319 (), [2]. Temple, lotus garden and water garden. Free tours by appointment. Hosts annual lotus and bamboo festival in summer and lunar new year celebration.  edit
  • Museum of the Gulf Coast, 700 Procter, +1 409 982-7000 (), [3]. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Exhibits include history, natural history, fine and decorative art, and popular culture. The Museum's Music Hall of Fame features a permanent exhibit on the life and career of Janis Joplin who was born and raised in Port Arthur. $3.50 adults, $3 seniors, $1.50 ages 6-18, $.50 ages 0-6, group rates available, school tours free.  edit
  • Pleasure Island, (S on Tx Hwy 82 across MLK Bridge to Pleasure Island), [4]. 3,500-acre manmade island surrounded by Sabine Lake and the Sabine Neches Intracoastal Waterway. The Sabine Causeway at the south end of the island connects Texas and Louisiana. Activities include sailing, golfing, fishing, crabbing, boating, hiking, biking, birding, disc golfing, and camping.  edit
  • Pompeiian Villa, 1953 Lakeshore Dr, +1 409 983-5977. Tours by appointment.  edit
  • Queen of Peace Shrine, 801 9th Ave, +1 409 983-7676. Free.  edit
  • Rose Hill Manor, 100 Woodworth (Woodworth at Lakeshore), +1 409 985-7292. National Register of Historic Places-listed colonial-style home built in 1906. Tours by appointment.  edit
  • Texas Artists Museum, 501 Cultural Center Dr, +1 409 983-4881 (), [5]. Tu-Sa noon-4PM. Primarily exhibits works of local artists. Free.  edit
  • Vuylsteke Dutch Home, 1831 Lakeshore Dr, +1 409 984-6101. The Consul of the Netherlands built this home in 1905. Owned by Lamar State College - Port Arthur. Tours by appointment. Free.  edit
  • White Haven, 2545 Lakeshore Dr, +1 409 984-6101. Historic home owned by Lamar State College - Port Arthur. Tours by appointment. Free.  edit
  • Charter fishing, [6]. With rivers, a saltwater lake and the Gulf Coast surrounding Port Arthur, fishing is a natural pastime. You can suit yourself and find lots of good fishing holes by land or on the water. You can also go out with a guide. There are quite a few charter businesses found at the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce website.  edit
  • Lakeshore Drive, Lakeshore Dr. There is a nice walk or drive along Lakeshore Drive from Lamar State College to the White Haven house. A walkpath, sometimes open for car traffic, leads closer to the water. On one side you'll see the historic homes built along Lakeshore Drive in the early 20th century, on the other side you see the intracoastal waterway. If you are lucky a cargo ship or an oil tanker will pass by and remind you how small humans are. The walk is not recommended at night for safety reasons.  edit
  • Southeast Texas Mardi Gras, 500 Procter St, +1 409 721-8717, [7]. Parades, concerts and revelry take place the weekend before Fat Tuesday. $7-10 festival, parades free.  edit
  • Esther's Seafood & Oyster Bar (Esther's Cajun Seafood), 7237 Rainbow Lane (off of Tx Hwy 73 at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge), +1 866 820-1754, [8]. Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F 11AM-10PM, Sa 5-10PM. Located on the water at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge, the menu at this Cajun Restaurant includes alligator, boudain, crawfish, crab, frog legs, gumbo, oysters, shrimp and steaks. Fish dishes include red snapper and flounder. Car and boat access. $15-30.  edit
  • MainStay Suites, 7648 Memorial Blvd, +1 409-729-8880, [9]. Extended stay hotel with full kitchens, microwaves, coffee makers, refrigerators, sofa sleepers, irons and ironing boards. Some rooms feature balconies.  edit
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