Category: Port Arthur

  • Port City

    JOHN WARNE GATES DIED IN PARIS ON AUGUST 9, 1911, with an ocean between him and the city where he had conceived such magnificent schemes. At once over Port Arthur there “swept an atmosphere of depression, choking, stifling, dense.” The local correspondent of the Beaumont Enterprise wrote: The flags are at half mast at Port […]

  • Climbing The Hill

    PORT ARTHUR HAD BROUGHT THE SEA INLAND to its doors, but its bitter struggle for maritime progress continued in the offices of legislators and between factions. The city, so near and yet so far from the Gulf, had made concerted efforts to have itself declared a port of entry. The local Board of Trade now […]

  • Bulls And Bears

    MORE THAN ONE STORY HAS BEEN TOLD AS TO why John Gates was known from coast to coast as Beta-Million. The best authenticated deals with a trip by Gates and his friend Isaac L. Ellwood to Pittsburgh in 1897 to purchase a steel mill at a “bargain of a million dollars.” Gates was bored during […]

  • Boom And Building

    AMID ITS STARKLY NEW BUILDINGS THE INFANT city of Port Arthur, like a young girl going to her first grown-up party, preened itself with hastily perfected improvements—including a 2,500-foot export pier—for a great excursion of home seekers that would make or break the Stilwell dream of a port metropolis here on Lake Sabine. The first […]

  • Dreams And Brownie

    INTO THE JEFFERSON COUNTY SCENE IN 1895 CAME Arthur Edward Stilwell, erstwhile successful insurance salesman, head of a transportation system and trust company, and believer in dreams, hunches, and the supernatural creatures that he called “Brownies” to build what he later described as “the only city ever located and built under directions from the spirit […]

  • Sparks And Aurora

    THE REGION WAS NOT UNTOUCHED BY THE TEXAS Revolution against Mexico of 1835.36, for 30,000 Texans, retreating before General Santa Anna’s armies, fled overland to Beaumont, then followed the Neches River down to Joseph Grigsby’s place, where they were able to cross into the United States. Some refugees, however, traveled by water, and an account […]

  • Indians To Empresarios

    ABORIGINES, EXPLORERS, PIRATES, SHIPWRECKED mariners, missionary priests, trappers, and settlers move in a shadowy pageant across the early background of Port Arthur. Residents today tread pavement that is believed to contain the remains of Indians. Loads of shell from the banks of the Sabine River were used for building streets in 1913, and when, later, […]

  • Oil And Roses

    FROM AN ALLIGATOR-INFESTED AND FEVER-RIDden swamp, in less than a half-century, to a modern, pulsing, landscaped city of nearly 50,000 inhabitants—more than 60,000 in its metropolitan area—seventh among United States seaports and third among those of Texas; this is the story of Port Arthur, product of one of the most amazing promotional schemes ever pushed […]

  • Chronology

    1543—July 25. Survivors of the Hernando de Soto expedition are driven ashore near Lake Sabine by a storm. 1745—Spaniards learn that Frenchmen are trading in the section. 1756—Spanish establish the Presidio San Agustin de Ahumada and the Mission Nuestra Senora de la Luz del Orcoquisac near the mouth of the Trinity River, and tradition says […]

  • Points Of Interest – Contuined

    13. THE PORT ARTHUR-ORANGE BRIDGE (free; parking forbidden)-, 5 m. E. of the Port Arthur city limits on State 87, spans the Neches River, and in 1940 was the tallest highway bridge in the South. The structure permits the passage of large ocean-going vessels, with a vertical clearance for shipping of 176 feet. The tiptop […]