Beaumont Commercial District
Beaumont (// boh-mont) is a city in and county seat ofJefferson County, Texas, United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's population was 118,296 at the 2010 census making it the twenty-fourth most populous city in the state of Texas. Beaumont's early history was centered around the lumber, farming, and port industries. A big change occurred in 1901 with the Spindletop gusher. The area transformed into one of the major petro-chemical refining areas in the country. Along with Port Arthur andOrange, Beaumont forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the Gulf Coast.
Beaumont is home of Lamar University, a national Carnegie Doctoral Research university with 15,000 students. Over the years, several corporations called Beaumont home. For example, Gulf States Utilitieshad its headquarters in Beaumont until its absorption by Entergy Corporation in 1993. GSU's Edison Plaza headquarters is still thetallest building in Beaumont (as of 2011). With Spindletop, several current energy companies were spawned in Beaumont.
According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report the top employers in the city are:
Refineries, Port of Beaumont andthe Jefferson County Courthouse
|#||Employer||# of Employees
||Conn's Appliances Inc.
||Beaumont Independent School District
||Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital
||Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital
||City of Beaumont
||CB&I Matrix Engineering
A significant element of the region's economy is the Port of Beaumont, the nation's fourth largest seaport by tonnage. The 842d Transportation Battalion, and the 596th Transportation Group are both stationed at the port in Beaumont.
In addition to companies doing business within the city limits, several large industrial facilities are located within the city's five mile extraterritorial jurisdiction boundaries including the ExxonMobil Beaumont refinery and chemical plants, Goodyear Beaumont chemical plant, and DuPont chemical plant.
Jason's Deli has its headquarters in Beaumont. Conn's Appliances did have its headquarters in Beaumont; however, in mid-2012, Conn's moved its corporate headquarters to The Woodlands. Originally Sweet Leaf Tea Company had its headquarters in Beaumont. The headquarters moved to Austin in October 2003.
Businesses associated with Beaumont
- Conn's: Chain of appliance and electronic stores; now headquartered in The Woodlands
- Gulf Oil: Gulf Oil Company founded 1901, now Chevron
- 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 30 states; still HQed in Beaumont.
- 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
- 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 five ports in the country for tonnage
- Sweet Leaf Tea: A ready-to-drink organic tea company started in Beaumont in 1998 by Clayton Christopher and David Smith, later moved to Austin, TX.
- The Texas Oil Company: Founded in 1902 just west of Beaumont (Sour Lake, Texas) became Texaco;, now owned/part of Chevron formerly Standard Oil Company of California.
- 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.
Arts and theatre
Museums and Buildings Open for Tours
Art Museum of Southeast Texas, notice the last remaining column from the Perlstein Building.
- 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 Houstonand New Orleans when it was erected in 1907. Only one column still remains from the building. AMSET, formerly the Beaumont Art Museum, exhibits 19th–21st century American art with a collecting focus on Texas art and Folk Art and offers 10–14 educational programs in any given year. Admission is free, and is the only museum open seven days per week.
- Beaumont Children's Museum New, temporary location opening summer, 2015 in the Beaumont Civic Center
- 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.
- Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum. Museum dedicated to the life of the Beaumont native and accomplished athlete.
- The Beaumont Art League is the oldest non-profit art gallery in the area, with 70 years of history. The two gallery spaces (at the old Fairgrounds on Gulf Street) host art exhibitions and juried shows year-round, including the notable BAL National Exhibition (formerly the Tri-State Show), which attracts artists all over the country.
- The Chambers House A home open for tours built in 1906 providing a step back in time. The home is filled with furniture, personal items, and artifacts used in the home.
- The Clifton Steamboat Museum opened its doors on 26 October 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 24,000 square feet (2,200 m2), two-story museum that is handicap accessible, and contains various exhibits. 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. There is also the tugboat, "Hercules", standing at 36 feet (11 m) high, 22 feet (6.7 m) wide, and 92 feet (28 m) long which is included on the museum tour. Tours available by appointment only.
- Dishman Art Museum is the University Art Museum located on the campus ofLamar University. The museum features 19th and 20th century European and American Art as well as Tribal Art from Africa and New Guinea.
- Edison Museum – about inventor Thomas Edison The museum features exhibits and artifacts about Thomas Edison and his innovations.
- 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.
- 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 to 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.
- The McFaddin-Ward House, was built in 1905–06 in the Beaux-Arts Colonial style and is located in the Oaks Historic District. 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. Educational programs focus on history and are geared toward children and adults.
- Red Lobster's historical marine museum
- Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum The museum includes several reconstructed buildings reminiscent of the original Gladys City. The buildings contain artifacts from the period.
Other Historic Buildings
- Beaumont Commercial District is a collection of historic buildings in downtown, a national historic district registered with the NRHP.
- Crockett Street Entertainment District The entertainment district includes five vintage buildings dating from around the turn of the 20th century. Each of the buildings have been renovated and many have been re-purposed to restaurants and entertainment.
- Jack Brooks Federal Building
- Jefferson County Courthouse is an excellent example of Art Deco architecture.
- 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.
- Julie Rogers Theater was formerly Beaumont's city hall and civic auditorium. The building was renovated with a main purpose of a theater for live performances.
- St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica
Built in 1903 as First Baptist Church, this building is now Tyrrell Historical Library
- Temple Emanuel (Beaumont, Texas) has a notable set of stained glass windows by Israeli artist Ze'ev Raban
- Tyrrell Historical Library, formerly First Baptist Church, the building is now a library with an extensive collection of genealogical records.
- Beaumont Civic Ballet Chartered in 1971, several performances including The Nutcracker are provided each year.
- Beaumont Community Players - Begun in 1925, the Beaumont Community Players have performed several plays and musicals each year except for the World War IIperiod. The Community Players have had several homes over the years including Little Theatre at Fair Park andJefferson Theatre. Performances are now at the Betty Greenburg Center for Performing Arts.
- Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music - Lamar University presents a variety of jazz, orchestral, opera, choir and chorus, brass, and concert band performances throughout the year.
- Symphony of Southeast Texas - Founded in 1953 as the Beaumont Symphony Orchestra, the symphony has been performing several performances each year since then. Several guest artists including Van Cliburn and Ferrante & Teicher have appeared with the symphony.
Tourism and recreation
- The Beaumont Botanical Gardens is located at Tyrrell Park. On its 23.5 acre grounds, it includes a Cattail Marsh, the 10,000 sq ft Warren Loose Conservatory, formal gardens, and a mile nature trail.
- Tyrrell Park - Botanical Garden, Henry Homberg Municipal Golf Course, Cattail Marsh, restrooms, shelters, Babe Zaharias Drive Monument, baseball backstop, lighted basketball goals, benches, drinking fountains, 1-mile (1.6 km) nature trail, picnic tables
- Neches River Adventures Sponsored by the Big Thicket Association, two hour eco-tours down the Neches River and bayous are provided from March to November each year. The tour departs from Riverfront Park in downtown Beaumont.
Within 30 Minute Drive
- Big Thicket National Preserve Located north of Beaumont, hiking, canoe paddling, and swimming are some of the available activities.
- McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge Located about 30 minutes away from Beaumont, the refuge provides nature trails as well as photography, fishing, and hunting activities.
- Sea Rim State Park About 30 minutes away from Beaumont adjacent to the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, Sea Rim State Park provides access to Gulf of Mexico beaches as well as hiking trails.
- Village Creek State Park is located just north of Beaumont. Numerous activities including canoe paddling are provided.
- Shangri-la Gardens Located in Orange, about 20–25 minutes east of Beaumont, Shangri-La Gardens has sculptured gardens to natural settings as well as boat tours.
- Stark Museum of Art Also located in Orange, provides several exhibits.
Downtown Beaumont is the center of Business, Government and night time entertainment in southeast Texas. Downtown features the Crockett Street Entertainment Complex with entertainment options from dancing, to live music to dining or a bar. In addition to the night time entertainment downtown also features a museum district with four distinct museums.
- Since 1907, Beaumont has been home of the South Texas State Fair. The South Texas State Fair and Rodeo is held at Beaumont's Ford Park during March. It is the 2nd largest fair in the state with over 500,000 visitors in 2009. The fair features a livestock show, a commercial exhibition, a carnival midway and numerous food choices. The Fair moved from the Fair Park Coliseum to Ford Park in 2004, a new, larger facility on the west end of Beaumont.. The fair was previously held in the fall but had to be moved to spring after hurricanes Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008 caused its cancellation. YMBL Championship Rodeo is held at Ford Park during the South Texas State Fair. The rodeo is an annual event and is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Admission to the rodeo is included in fair admission.
- The Gusher Marathon formed in 2010 by the local nonprofit Sports Society for American Health is the city's first annualmarathon. The Gusher takes place in march and includes a 5K, half marathon and full marathon. The course begins at the Montagne Center of Lamar University and tours Downtown and Lamar before returning to the Montange.
- The Beaumont Jazz & Blues Fest is a Jazz festival held in downtown Beaumont since 2005. The Boomtown Film and Music Festival is a film and music festival that began in 2008 to replace the Spindletop Film Festival.
- Dog Jam is a rock concert held annually at Ford Park.
- July 4 Celebration - Each year, a July 4 celebration is held in downtown Beaumont. The celebration includes live music outside on and around Riverfront Park, a concert by the Symphony of Southeast Texas in the Julie Rogers Theatre followed by a fireworks display viewed from Riverfront Park.
- Lunch at the Lake Each Monday starting in March, the City of Beaumont provides live music and seating at the Event Centre in downtown Beaumont. Around ten vendors are at the event with a wide choice of food selections.
- Downtown Winter Parade - On the first Saturday of December downtown host the Beaumont Downtown Winter Parade. The parade features floats that travel down Main, College and Pearl streets. In recent years the parade has also featured a lighted boat parade that travels down the Neches River, spectators can watch from Riverfront Park.
- Neches River Festival Parade - One of the many events associated with the Neches River Festival, held in April, is a downtown parade. The festival has been held since 1948.
Beaumont has 8 buildings over 100 feet (30 m) tall, the tallest being the Edison Plaza, which is 254 feet (77 m) tall. The old Edson Hotel, built in 1928 is nearly the same height at 240 feet. One of the most prominent downtown buildings is the 15 story San Jacinto Building. Built in 1921, it sports one of the largest four faced clock towers in the nation, each dial being 17 feet (5.2 m) in diameter. In 1922 the 11 story Hotel Beaumont was built across the street from the San Jacinto. The Hotel Beaumont bears a resemblance to the old Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta. The second oil boom of 1925 brought more people and wealth to Beaumont, the same year the 12 story American National Bank Building (now Orleans Building), was erected, and in 1926 Forrest Goodhue built the 12 story Goodhue Building which included a penthouse. In 1928, the Edson Hotel was built. No other buildings were built until Century Tower in 1962 and in 1982 Edison Plaza was built. In 1994 the 12 story LaSalle Hotel, built in 1927, was demolished.
The Jefferson Theatre was built in 1927 by the Jefferson Amusement Company for $1 million and was Beaumont's showpiece for many years. In 1928 the City Hall and Auditorium was built. It is now the Julie Rogers Theater.
Beaumont's Jefferson County Courthouse is one of the tallest county courthouses in the state and is an excellent example of Art Deco architecture. Across the street from the Jack Brooks Federal Building is the Kyle Building, built in 1933. The storefront was recently restored and is considered to be one of the best examples of Zig-Zag architecture in Texas.
The Oaks Historic District has many restored historic homes.
Kyle Building, Edson Hotel, Goodhue Building
Left-San Jacinto Building, Right-Hotel Beaumont