Introduction to Beaumont, Texas
The Texas city of Beaumont is located on the west bank of the Neches River, about 85 miles east of Houston. The city lies on Texas' coastal plain, about 30 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. It is the county seat of Jefferson County, and together with the neighboring cities of Port Arthur and Orange, comprises a region known as the Golden Triangle, a major Gulf Coast industrial center. Beaumont is serviced by Interstate I-10, and also by U.S. Routes 69, 90, and 96; and Texas State Highways 12 and 124.
Beaumont was founded in 1835 by a New Orleans native named Henry Millard, who named it after the family of his wife (Mary Beaumont). It received its charter as a town in 1838 and by the late 19th century established itself as a prime lumber town. In 1901, a decade-long dream of finding oil on Spindletop Hill was finally realized, as several gushers erupted with oil, making Spindletop's production larger at the time than the combined yield of the rest of the world. The find resulted in an oil boom which made Beaumont the new home of several oil companies. Along with the oil boom came a population boom and millions of dollars worth of residential construction. Prosperity soon waned as Mother Nature and the Great Depression combined to usher in some tough times to Beaumont in the 1920s and 1930s, but the industrial output required to support the World War II war effort got things rolling again. By the 1970s, the "Golden Triangle" region had become the petrochemical complex of Southeast Texas, but the region's economic fate mirrored the ups and downs of the petrochemical industry in the late 20th century. Beaumont's economy today continues to be dominated by the petrochemical industry, although regional leaders are smartly and successfully diversifying the economic base. The national trend towards more service-oriented jobs is reflected in the city and has resulted in an increase in the number of visitors to the area and new housing and school construction.
Things to See and Do in Beaumont
Beaumont is the home of the annual South Texas State Fair. Other annual events include the Neches River Festival and the Kaleidoscope Arts and Crafts Festival. Beaumont is also filled with unique attractions that depict the history and culture of the region. The Art Museum of Southeast Texas offers exciting exhibits which include 19th - 21st century American paintings, sculpture, and photography. The Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum & Visitor Center pays tribute to Beaumont legend Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias (1911-1956), former Olympic gold-medalist widely considered the greatest woman athlete of all time. The Beaumont Police Department Museum houses a collection of memorabilia, weaponry and police paraphernalia dating back to the turn of the century. The John Jay French Museum, originally built in 1845 by merchant John Jay French as a trading post and tannery, depicts the life of a mid-19th century prosperous Texas pioneer family. Other Beaumont points of interest include:
- Edison Museum: Chronicles the inventions and innovations of Thomas Alva Edison.
- Fire Museum of Texas: Home of one of the world’s largest fire hydrants.
- Beaumont Botanical Gardens
- Clifton Steamboat Museum
- Dishman Art Museum
- McFaddin-Ward House
- Texas Energy Museum
- Gladys City Boom Town Museum
- Julie Rogers Theater
- The Jefferson Theatre
Sports fans can get on Interstate I-10 and take a 90-minute ride west to Houston where the following professional teams reside:
- National Football League (NFL): Houston Texans
- Major League Baseball: Houston Astros
- National Basketball Association (NBA): Houston Rockets
- Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA): Houston Comets
- American Hockey League (AHL): Houston Aeros
- Major League Soccer (MLS): Houston Dynamo