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Beaumont, Texas

Beaumont is a city in and the county seat of Jefferson County, Texas, United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 113,866. With Port Arthur and Orange, it forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the Gulf Coast.

Lamar University is based in Beaumont. The city's daily newspaper is The Beaumont Enterprise, while The Examiner is published weekly.

Gulf States Utilities had its headquarters in Beaumont until its absorption by Entergy Corporation in 1993. GSU's Edison Plaza headquarters is still the tallest building in Beaumont (as of 2007). Since 1907, Beaumont has been home of the South Texas State Fair. In 2004, the venue for the Fair changed to Ford Park, a new, larger facility on the west end of Beaumont.

History

The city of Beaumont was named by Henry Millard for the family of his deceased wife, Natchez, Mississippi, belle Mary Dewburleigh Barlace Warren Beaumont. Millard came to Texas in 1835 and, along with his business partners, purchased some land between the settlements of Tevis Bluff and Santa Anna. On this property, they founded the city of Beaumont.

Beaumont became a town on December 16, 1838. Joseph Perkins Pulsifer was a founding citizen of Beaumont. His firm, J.P. Pulsifer and Company, donated the first 50 acres upon which the town was founded. Beaumont's first mayor was Alexander Calder.

Beaumont was a small center for cattle raisers and farmers in its early years, and with an active riverport by the late 1800s, it became an important lumber and rice-milling town. The Beaumont Rice Mill, founded in 1892 by Joseph Eloi Broussard, was the first commercial rice mill in Texas. Beaumont's lumber boom, which reached its peak in the late 1800s, was due in large part to the rebuilding and expansion of the railroads after the Civil War. By the early 1900s, the city was served by the Southern Pacific, Kansas City Southern, Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe, and Missouri Pacific railroad systems.

Oil was discovered at nearby Spindletop on January 10, 1901. Spindletop became the first major oil field and one of the largest in American history. With the discovery of oil at Spindletop, Beaumont's population grew from 3,296 in 1890 to 9,427 in 1900. Oil is, and has always been, a major export of the city, and a major factor contributing to the national GDP.

A race riot took place in Beaumont in June 1943 after a white woman said she had been raped by a black male.

In 1996, the Jefferson County courts, located in Beaumont, became the first court in the nation to implement electronic filing and service of court documents, eliminating the need for law firms to print and mail reams of documents.

In 2005 and 2008, Beaumont and surrounding areas suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike. A mandatory evacuation was imposed upon its residents for about two weeks.

Politics and government

Beaumont is a council-manager form of government. Elections are held annually, with the Mayor and Council members each serving two-year terms. All powers of the City are vested in the Council, which enacts local legislation, adopts budgets, and determines policies. Council is also responsible for appointing the City Attorney, the City Clerk and Magistrates, and the City Manager. The city council is composed of two councilmembers-at-large, and four councilmembers representing four Wards of the city.
Position Name Elected to Current Position Areas Represented Council Districts
  Mayor Becky Ames 2007 - present Citywide
  At Large Position 1 W.L. Pate Jr. 2007 - present Citywide
  At Large Position 2 Gethrel "Get" Williams-Wright 2007 - present Citywide
  Ward 1 Dr. Alan Coleman 2007 - present North Beaumont
  Ward 2 Nancy Beaulieu 2003 - present West Beaumont
  Ward 3 Audwin M. Samuel 1984-1992, 1999-Present Central Beaumont
  Ward 4 Jamie D. Smith 2007 - present South Beaumont

Geography

Beaumont is on Texas' coastal plain, about inland from the Gulf of Mexico, and just south of the dense pine forests of East Texas. The city is bordered on the east by the Neches River and to the north by Pine Island Bayou. Before being settled, the area was crisscrossed by numerous small streams. Most of these streams have since been filled in or converted for drainage purposes.

Beaumont is located at (30.079912, -94.126653).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 85.9 square miles (222.6 km²), of which, 85.0 square miles (220.2 km²) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.4 km²) of it (1.07%) is water.

Climate

The city of Beaumont, Texas is within the humid subtropical climate regime. This city is within the Piney Woods, which cover the eastern region of Texas, as well as adjacent Louisiana. This region of Texas receives the most rainfall in the state, with more than annually. This is due to the warm gulf waters that carry humid air to the region, where it condenses and precipitates. Hurricanes also strike the region, the most disastrous of which was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. Rita was the largest and most damaging hurricane to hit Beaumont to date, striking September 24, 2005. Causing $11.3 billion in damage, it is the sixth most costly hurricane in United States history. The humidity of the region greatly amplifies the feeling of heat during the summer. The winters are kept moderate by warm gulf currents. Wintry precipitation is unusual, but does occur. The most recent snow event was December 24, 2004, the first such occurrence since 1989. The area suffered a severe ice storm in January 1997.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 113,866 people, 44,361 households, and 29,100 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,339.4 people per square mile (517.2/km²). There were 48,815 housing units at an average density of 574.2/sq mi (221.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 46.39% Caucasian, 45.85% African American, 0.24% Native American, 2.48% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.55% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.93% of the population.

There were 44,361 households out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 18.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,559, and the median income for a family was $40,825. Males had a median income of $35,861 versus $24,255 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,632. About 16.4% of families and 19.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.6

Economy

Top Ten Employers:

Sports

Culture

  • Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET), with its Perlstein Plaza, dedicated in memory of pioneer real estate developer Hyman Asher Perlstein (1869-1947), who arrived in Beaumont in 1889 as a poor Jewish immigrant from Lithuania and eventually became one of the city's major builders. The museum stands on the site of the Perlstein building, which was the tallest structure between Houston and New Orleans when it was erected in 1907. AMSET, formerly the Beaumont Art Museum, exhibits 19th-21st Century American art and offers 10-14 educational programs in any given year. Admission is free, and the museum is open seven days per week.
  • Beaumont Botanical Gardens
  • Beaumont's Sister City in Japan Beppu, Oita
  • Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum.
  • Lamar University
  • Thomas Alva Edison Museum
  • John Jay French Museum. The John Jay French Museum is an historic home that has been converted into a museum. Its purpose is to illustrate the life of a prosperous Texas pioneer family from 1845-1865. The home, built in 1845 by French, a tanner and merchant, showcases period furnishings, clothing and pioneer household utensils. Outbuildings on the grounds include a blacksmith shop, tannery, privy and smokehouse.

  • Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum. Museum dedicated to the life of the Beaumont native and accomplished athlete.
  • Fire Museum of Texas - Home of one of world's largest fire hydrants. Antique fire trucks and equipment chronicle the history of firefighting in Texas. Educational programs stress the importance of fire safety.
  • Crockett Street Entertainment Complex
  • Dishman Art Gallery
  • Julie Rogers Theater
  • The Art Studio, Inc. (TASI)], a non-profit arts cooperative and art gallery space that rents subsidized space to visual artists. Also hosts poetry readings, music events, film screenings. Housed in a converted warehouse in the industrial district of Beaumont's downtown.
  • The Jefferson Theatre, built in 1927, is an historic theater that presents musical and stage performances as well as limited revival screenings of classic films. It is featured on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.
  • The McFaddin-Ward House, built in 1905-06 in the Beaux-Arts Colonial style. The structure and its furnishings reflect the lifestyle of the prominent family who lived in the house for seventy-five years. A very large historic home with a substantial carriage house. The entire grounds are currently a public museum with a substantial permanent collection of antique furniture and household items. Eductational programs focus on history and are geared toward children and adults.
  • The Clifton Steamboat Museum opened its doors on October 26, 1995 with construction beginning in the earlier months of 1994. The theme of the museum is Heroes... Past, Present, and Future and honors our military and civilian heroes. The Clifton Steamboat Museum consists of a , two-story museum that is handicap accessible, and contains various exhibits. Our museum art exhibits bring to life the wars fought in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, as well as the Steamboat Era, World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam. Upper art galleries of the museum feature original bronze sculptures; Native American artists, wildlife, and frontier paintings from famous artists. A special gallery in the museum is dedicated to the Boy Scouts. This boy scouts gallery features many historical scouting artifacts, some dating back before the 1960s, and is sure to spark the interest of boy scouts past and present. There is also the tugboat, "Hercules", standing at high, wide, and long which is included on the museum tour.

Education

Beaumont is served by the Beaumont Independent School District, Premier High School of Beaumont a public charter school, one state university Lamar University and one two-year college Lamar Institute of Technology. The Diocese of Beaumont runs three Catholic elementary schools in Beaumont, St. Anne Catholic School, St. Anthony Cathedral Catholic School, and Our Mother of Mercy Catholic School. Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School is the city's lone Catholic high school. Legacy Christian Academy, with campuses on Highway 105 and US 69, enrolls kindergarten through 12th grade.

Media

Newspaper:

Television:

  • KFDM 6 (CBS)/DT 6.1 with CW Network on 6.2 (note: RF channel is actually 21)
  • KBTV 4 (NBC)/DT 40 (Digital; VERY low power and no HD)
  • KBMT 12 (ABC)/DT 50
  • KVHP 29 (FOX)(tower near Edgerly, LA; covers most of the Beaumont MSA) Digital on 30 is in Lake Charles for now and cannot cover BPT area
  • KUIL 64 (FOX) Low power satellite station operated by KVHP (Sometimes has different programming) /DTV Lowpower on RF36 in Orangefield

Radio:

  • KIOC 106.1 Rock (Big Dog) Clear Channel
  • KCOL 92.5 Oldies (Cool 92.5) Clear Channel
  • KVLU 91.3 NPR located at Lamar University with HD-Radio
  • KYKR 95.1 Country (Kicker) Clear Channel
  • KAYD 101.7 Country (KD 101) Cumulus
  • KTCX 102.5 Urban (Magic 102.5) Cumulus
  • KQXY 94.1 Top 40 (Q94) Cumulus
  • KKMY 104.5 Adult Contemporary (Mix) Clear Channel
  • KQBU 93.3 Party 93 Univision (Based out of Houston; licensed to Port Arthur)
  • KQQK 107.9 Spanish Top 40 (XO "Equis O") Libermann (Based out of Houston; licensed to Beaumont)
  • KFNC 97.5 Sports/Talk (ESPN 97.5 The Ticket) Cumulus (serves Houston market; tower south of Winnie)
  • KHJK 103.7 Variety Hits (103.7 Jack FM) Cumulus (serves Houston market; tower NW of Winnie)
  • KTJM 98.5 Regional Mexican (La Raza) Liberman (Based out of Houston; licensed to Port Arthur)
  • KHPT 106.9 "Best of the 80s and more" COX (serves Houston market from Splendora tower)
  • KLVI 560 AM Talk/Fox News Clear Channel
  • KOLE 1340 AM //KRCM 1380 AM Fox Radio (1380 is moving to Shenandoah, south of Conroe, soon)
  • KBPO 1150 AM Port Neches (off air)
  • KZZB 990 AM Martin Broadcasting; poor range and low audio
  • KDEI 1250 AM Catholic / Radio Maria
  • KIKR 1450 AM Regional Mexican "La Gran D" (simulcast on KBED 1510)

Famous businesses from Beaumont

  • Conn's - Chain of Appliance and Electronic stores
  • Cotton Cargo - Beaumont's top screen printing and embroidery business.
  • ENGlobal - Engineering firm, Worldwide
  • Gulf Oil - Gulf Oil Company founded 1901, now Chevron
  • Helena Laboratories - Manufactures medical testing equipment
  • Humble Oil - 50% of Humble Oil sold to Standard Oil of NJ to build its first refinery in Baytown. Merged and renamed Exxon 1972. Now ExxonMobil
  • Jason's Deli - Fast Casual chain with locations in 20 states.
  • M & I Electric - Manufacturer for offshore drilling and petrochemical refining equipment, now American Electric Technologies, Inc. based in Houston
  • Magnolia Petroleum Company - Startup began in Corsicana in 1898, but became a major company in Beaumont in 1901. Owned KFDM radio, now 560 KLVI in the 30s through the 50s. Its refinery in Beaumont along with Texas Oil Co. & Gulf's in Port Arthur, TX were 3 of the largest in the world. Magnolia later sold 45% ownership to Standard Oil of NY, Socony. Combined companies years later into Mobil now ExxonMobil
  • Parkdale mall - The largest mall in the Golden triangle area.
  • Port of Beaumont - Young town of Beaumont grew quicker around this harbor about 1840 and would mark the spot that would become the port. Ranks consistently among the top 5 ports in the country for tonnage
  • Sweet Leaf Tea - Bottled teas
  • The Texas Company - Founded in 1902 just west of Beaumont (Sour Lake, Texas) became Texaco;, now owned/part of Chevron formmerly the Gulf Oil Company.
  • Zummo Sausage
  • The Texas Coffee Company - Home of Seaport Coffees and Texjoy Steak Seasoning among other products distributed regionally. The company was founded in 1921 by Charles J. Fertitta, Sr. In 1968, the Texas Coffee Company became the first company in the United States to begin packaging coffee in vacuum-packed foil bags (see http://www.texjoy.com/store/pg/37-About-Us.aspx).

Events

Transportation

Highways

Beaumont is served by Interstate 10, an east-west freeway linking the city to Houston, New Orleans, Lake Charles and other points in between. In addition, it is also served by US 90 (College Avenue), US 69, US 96 and U.S. Highway 287 (Cardinal Drive and Eastex Freeway - not to be confused with Eastex Freeway in Houston), State Highway 124 and State Highway 105. Spur 380, locally known as MLK Expressway, runs into the eastern part of the city to downtown.

Public transit

Beaumont is served by a bus transit agency called Beaumont Municipal Transit, or BMT. It runs nine bus routes from Dannenbaum Station to various parts of the city Monday through Saturday every week from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The city is also served by the tri-weekly Amtrak train Sunset Limited.

Airports

Southeast Texas Regional Airport west of the city of Port Arthur provides limited commercial aviation services for Beaumont and Port Arthur residents.

Beaumont Municipal Airport is within the city of Beaumont and only has general aviation facilities.

References

External links

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