PORT ARTHUR Population- 58,062  Altitude- 8


Port Arthur, Texas is located on the northwest shore of Lake Sabine, which is just nine miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The original site of this settlement was known as Aurora in 1840. This is City named after Arthur E. Stilwell, a rich Kansas City financier, who was instrumental in building the railroad to the edge of this town site. Home of Lamar Univ. at Port Arthur (formerly Port Arthur College). Queen of Peace statue and Oriental gardens at 801 9th Ave. are especially beautiful when decorated with 700,000 lights at Christmas.

Port Arthur comes alive during Mardi Gras. This pre-Lenten celebration is growing in the Cajun city and it's family oriented. Call the convention and visitors bureau at (409)985-7822, or 1-800-235-7822, or stop by at 3401 Cultural Center Dr. (9th St. exit from Texas 73) for information on events, accommodations, and other area attractions.

This City is also a year-round fisherman's destination. The average temperature here varies from 55 degrees in winter to 82 in summer. Port Arthur Convention and Visitors Bureau sells an area Waters Guide showing many excellent locations to catch more than 25 varieties of freshwater and saltwater fish, along with charts, marina, fuel and services information.

This Port boasts an annual Cargo tonnage averaging about 23,000,000 which justifies the claim "We Oil the World,". Around a million barrels of crude oil are refined here every day!.

Museum of the Gulf Coast-

In former bank building downtown, the museum is outstanding. Note the striking murals on walls. Exhibits depict great strides made in the span of Port Arthur's history. Relics from Battle of Sabine Pass, mortgage note issued by Santa Anna ($500 mortgage bond issued by Mexican general on his personal property to raise funds for his army), and an Edison Talking Machine.

Southeast Texas Musical Heritage Room-

Features memorabilia of the late famous rock star Janis Joplin. Joplin's painted psychedelic Porsche sits on top of a spinning gold record. Some two dozen other musical stars are also featured, including: J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson, Jr., Richard ("Richie") Valens, and Tex Ritter. The museum is open Mon. - Sat. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sun. I - 5 p.m. It's at 701 Fourth St.

National Wildlife Refuges-

This alligator in Mcfaddin Wildlife Refuge is part of one of the densest alligator populations of American Alligators in Texas.

McFaddin and Texas Point National Wildlife Refuges are to the south on the Gulf along Texas 87. At Sabine Pass is Texas Point Refuge, once called Sea Rim. As with other Gulf Coast refuges in the state, tremendous concentrations of waterfowl are seen as well as a great variety of more than 60,000 snow geese (along with white-fronted and Canada geese) use the marsh; 23 species of ducks are represented and the number on the refuges reaches 100,000. The mottled duck, the only resident waterfowl species, uses the marsh for its summer nesting habitat. The McFaddin Refuge contains one of the densest populations of American alligators in Texas. Public activities include wildlife observation, photography, waterfowl hunting, fishing and crabbing. For directions and information contact refuge headquarters in Anahuac at 409/267-3337 or write PO Box 278, Anahuac, TX 77514; of visit McFaddin Refuge office on Shell Oil Company road,3ff Texas 87.

Pleasure Island

Connected to city by M. L. King-Gulfgate Bridge that arcs 138 feet above ship channel; access from island via Texas 82 causeway to Cameron Parish, LA. Island is in Sabine Lake, 100-square-mile lake which opens into Gulf of Mexico. Golf course, marina, boat ramps and miles of free roadside fishing levees from which anglers take redfish, drum, speckled trout, croakers and other species; excellent crabbing year round.

Pompeiian Villa

Originally built for Isaac Ellwood,known as the "Barbed-wire King," in 1900; he later sold it sold to the president of the Diamond Match Company, who in turn traded it for Texas Company (Texaco) stock worth $10,000. This same amount of Stock in today's economy would exceed $1 billion ! The House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Open Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. -4 p.m. 1953 Lakeshore Dr.

Port of Port Arthur-

From an observation deck view the harbor and "Big Arthur"-the largest gantry crane on the Gulf coast. Port tours by appointment; 409/983-2029, At east end of Houston Ave. and Lakeshore Dr.

Rainbow and Veterans Bridges-

A high, graceful arc on Texas 87 spans the Neches River joining Orange and Bridge City on the north with Port Arthur to the south. The two-lane, vintage Rainbow Bridge, completed 1938, spans salt marshes and industrial river channel for 1.5 miles including approaches. The bridge's 177-foot clearance height resulted from requirement that any U.S. Navy ship could pass under; tallest ship of the Navy's 1938 fleet was a dirigible tender than never sailed up the Neches.

Veterans Bridge was completed in 1991; with 143-foot navigation clearance, it is first cable-stayed bridge on Texas highways, Park at south end has playground, picnicking, and good view of bridge and ships in the intra-coastal waters.

Sabine Pass-

Laid out in 1836 by Sam Houston and Philip A. Sublett. Name changed to Sabine Pass in 1839. At one time population numbered around 6,(M but storms in 1886, 1900 and 1915 took heavy tolls. Historically significant event was Battle of Sabine Pass during War Between the States (see below). City was annexed by Port Arthur in 1978,

Sabine Pass Battleground State Historical Park-

Site of the astonishing Civil War battle of Sept. 8, 1863 - started over a Union attempt to invade Texas at Sabine Pass. The Union fleet numbered some 20 vessels and 5,000 men; whereas the Confederate defense was a small earthwork, six cannon, and 42 men Commanded by Lt. Richard W. Dowling and N.H. Smith. The Confederate defense and return fire proved so devastating that three Union gunboats were crippled in 45 minutes, and two more were captured. Federals lost a total of 65 men either killed, wounded or missing. An additional 315 were taken prisoner by the Confederates who suffered no casualties!!! The devastated and surprised remaining Union forces retired to New Orleans.

Dominating today's park is a statue of Dick Dowling on this base of Texas pink granite. facilities include a boat ramp, fish-cleaning shelter, rest rooms, picnic facilities with water and grills. Fine view of ships entering and leaving Gulf of Mexico. South 15 miles on F.M. 3322 off Texas 87. Day-use only.

Sea Rim State Park-

with a 5.2-mile coastline and 15,109 acres of marshland, the park offers a variety of recreational opportunities. From the visitors center, a boardwalk nature trail acquaints the visitor with marsh ecology. Boat trails provide access to the marsh. Camping in designated areas (with hookups), along beach, or on platforms in marsh area. Abundant wildlife. Fishing, swimming, On Texas 87, 14 miles southwest. Admission.

White Haven-

Victorian elegance fills this Southern Greek Revival mansion in the city's Historical District. Porcelains from the 18th and 19th Centuries, unique candelabra from Persia, historic furniture pieces. Open for tours Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., and most weekends. 2545 Lakeshore Dr. Donations.



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