Port Arthur is a city in Jefferson County within the Beaumont−Port ArthurMetropolitan Statistical Area of the U.S. state of Texas. The population was 53,818 at the 2010 census.
After earlier settlements here failed, Port Arthur was founded by Arthur Stilwell in 1895, on the western bank of Sabine Lake, a saltwater estuaryformed by the confluence of the Neches and Sabine rivers. It drains into the Gulf of Mexico. The city was incorporated in 1898, developed as a port, and later became the center of a large oil refinery network. TheRainbow Bridge across the Neches River connects Port Arthur to Bridge City.
|Nickname(s): PA, PAT|
Location of Port Arthur, Texas - U.S. Census Map
|Coordinates: 29°53′6″N 93°56′24″W|
Aurora was located near the mouth of Taylor Bayou on Sabine Lake, some 14 miles (23 km) long and 7 miles (11 km) wide. The lake is a saltwater estuary formed by the confluence of the Neches and Sabinerivers. Through its tidal outlet 5 miles (8 km) long, Sabine Pass, Sabine Lake drains some 50,000 square miles (100,000 km2) of Texas and Louisiana into the Gulf of Mexico.
The town was conceived as early as 1837, and by 1840 promoters led by Almanzon Huston were advertising townlots. Although some lots were sold, Houston's project failed to attract settlers. The area came to be known as Sparks after John Sparks and his family moved to the shores of Sabine Lake near the Aurora townsite. The Eastern Texas Railroad, completed between Sabine Pass andBeaumont, Texas just before the outbreak of the American Civil War, passed about four miles west of Sparks. The railroad passing track at this point was named Aurora after the Huston project. The rails were removed during the Civil War. A few scattered settlers remained until 1886, when a destructive hurricane hit the coast, resulting in residents to dismantling their homes and moving to Beaumont.
By 1895, Aurora was a ghost town. Arthur Stilwell led resettlement of the area as part of his planned Port Arthur (modestly named for himself), incorporated in 1898. Since the 20th century, Pleasure Island separates the city from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The 18.5-mile (29.8 km) man-made island was created fromdredged material from 1899 and 1908 projects by the Corps of Engineers to support development of the port.
Arthur Stilwell founded the Port Arthur Channel and Dock Company to develop port facilities. He officially opened the port with the arrival of the British steamer Saint Oswald in 1899. This same ship sank in 1915 after colliding with the French battleship Suffren during the Great War.
When oil was discovered in the region, Port Arthur developed for a time as the center of the largest oil refinery network in the world.
Port Arthur is located at (29.884864, −93.939902) east of Houston. 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.
After decades of stagnation and neglect in the area economy because of a decline in the oil industry, Port Arthur is reviving in the 21st century. 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 (95,000 m3/d). This $10.0 billion project is the largest US refinery expansion to occur in 30 years.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. But, Port Arthur still suffers from one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.
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.
Port Arthur's Museum of the Gulf Coast is recognized as the area's definitive collection of items and displays for figures from Port Arthur and the surrounding communities.
The Port Arthur Public Library, at 4615 9th Avenue at Texas State Highway 73, serves as the public library system for the city.