Beaumont, Texas

City of Beaumont

Location in the state of Texas
Coordinates: 30°04′48″N 94°07′36″W / 30.08000°N 94.12667°W / 30.08000; -94.12667Coordinates: 30°04′48″N 94°07′36″W / 30.08000°N 94.12667°W / 30.08000; -94.12667
Country  United States
State  Texas
County Jefferson
Settled 1835
Incorporation 1838
Demonym Beaumonter
  Type Council-Manager
  City Council Mayor Becky Ames
Claude Guidroz
W. L. Pate, Jr.
Robin Mouton
Audwin M. Samuel
Gethrel 'Get' Williams-Wright
Mike Getz
  City Manager Kyle Hayes
  City 85.9 sq mi (222.6 km2)
  Land 85.0 sq mi (220.2 km2)
  Water 0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)
Elevation 16 ft (5 m)
Population (2010)[1]
  City 118,296
  Estimate (2015)[1] 118,129
  Density 1,339.4/sq mi (517.1/km2)
  Urban 147,922 (222th U.S.)
  Metro 404,872 (130th U.S.)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
  Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 77701–77710, 77713, 77720, 77725, 77726
Area code(s) 409
FIPS code 48-07000[2]
GNIS feature ID 1330268[3]
U.S. Routes
Waterways Neches River, Pine Island Bayou
Public transit BMTS

Beaumont (/ˈbmɒnt/ BOH-mont) is a city in and the county seat of Jefferson County, Texas in the United States,[4] within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. Located in Southeast Texas on the Neches River about 90 mi (140 km) east of Houston, Beaumont city had a population of 118,296 at the time of the 2010 census, making it the twenty-fourth-most populous city in the state of Texas.

Beaumont's early history was centered on the development of lumber, farming, and port industries. In 1892, Joseph Eloi Broussard opened the first rice mill in the state, stimulating development of rice farming in the area; he also organized an irrigation authority to support rice culture. A big change occurred in 1901 with the Spindletop gusher, which demonstrated the potential of the huge oil field. The area transformed into one of the major petro-chemical refining areas in the country. Along with Port Arthur and Orange, 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 14,966 students, including undergraduates and post graduates. Over the years, several corporations have called Beaumont home, including Gulf States Utilities which 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 2011). With Spindletop, several energy companies developed in Beaumont, and some continue.


In 1824 Noah and Nancy Tevis settled on the west bank of the Neches River and organized a farm. Soon after that, a small community grew up around the farm, which was named Tevis Bluff or Neches River Settlement.[5] In 1835 the land of Tevis together with nearby community of Santa Anna (in total, 50 acres (20 ha)) was purchased by Northerners Henry Millard (1796?–1844) of New York,[6] Joseph Pulsifer (1805–1861) of Massachusetts,[7] and Thomas Byers Huling (1804–1865) of Pennsylvania .[8] They began planning a town to be laid out on this land.[5] Their partnership, J.P. Pulsifer and Company, controlled the first 50 acres (200,000 m2) upon which the town was founded.[7] This town was named Beaumont, after Jefferson Beaumont, the brother-in-law of Henry Millard. They added more property for a total of 200 acres.

Beaumont became a town on 16 December 1838. Beaumont's first mayor was Alexander Calder.[9] From the town's founding in 1835, business activities included real estate, transportation, and retail sales. Later, other businesses were formed, especially in railroad construction and operation, new building construction, lumber sales, and communications. Beaumont became a successful regional shipping center, as it was a port. Beaumont was a small center for cattle raisers and farmers in its early years. With an active riverport by the 1880s, 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. In addition, Broussard established an authority for an irrigation system to support rice culture. This helped stimulate the expansion of rice cultivation from 1500 acres in 1892 to 400,000 acres in 23 counties by his death in 1956.[10] Beaumont's lumber boom, which reached its peak in the late 19th century, was stimulated by the rebuilding and expansion of the railroads in the state and region after the Civil War.

The rise of Beaumont's mill economy drew many new residents to the city, many of them immigrants. The first Jewish man in the city was from Louisiana, others migrated from the South, and were joined by immigrants. They worked as merchants and in a variety of jobs in the growing city and ranching area. In 1895 Jews formed their first congregation.[11] By the early 20th century, the city was served by the Southern Pacific; Kansas City Southern, Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe; and Missouri Pacific railroad systems.[12]

Lucas Gusher, Spindletop

Oil was discovered at nearby Spindletop on 10 January 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 more than tripled in two months from 9,000 in January 1901 to 30,000 in March 1901. Oil is, and has always been, a major export of the city, and a major contributor to the national GDP.

William Casper Tyrrell, nicknamed "Captain W.C.", was a leading businessman and oil tycoon in the city in the early 20th century, developing businesses during the Texas Oil Boom. An entrepreneur from Pennsylvania and Iowa, he arrived after the gusher at Spindletop, and invested in development of a commercial port in the city, and an irrigation system to support the local rice industry, as well as residential and retail development of suburban property. He was also a philanthropist. He purchased and donated First Baptist Church, whose congregation had moved to a new facility, to use as the city's first public library, now known as the Tyrrell Historical Library.[13]

When the city became a major center for defense shipbuilding during World War II, tens of thousands of rural Texans migrated there for the new high-paying jobs. The Roosevelt administration ordered the defense industry to be integrated, and many Southern whites were working closely with blacks for the first time. Housing was scarce in the crowded city, and racial tensions increased. In June 1943 after workers at the Pennsylvania shipyard in Beaumont learned that a white woman had accused a black man of raping her, nearly 2,000 went to the jail where a suspect was being held, attracting more men along the way and reaching a total of 4,000.[14] Ultimately the white mob rioted for three days, destroying major black neighborhoods and killing five persons. No one was prosecuted for the deaths. The riot in Beaumont was one of several in 1943 which centered in the defense industry, including Los Angeles,[15] Detroit,[16] Chicago[17] and Mobile, Alabama[18] as well as other cities across the country. The wartime social disruption was similar to war time riots which had occurred in other parts of the country during and following World War I.

In the postwar years, Beaumont's port continued in importance. Although Beaumont's city center is located 85 highway miles from the Houston city center and 60 air miles from city limit boundary to city limit boundary, the city is now considered part of the widespread Houston metropolitan area. As was typical with other cities, postwar highway construction led to the development of new suburbs and dispersal of population in search of new housing. There has been some renewal in Beaumont downtown and people have rediscovered the river.

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 ordered for residents, lasting about two weeks.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 85.9 square miles (222 km2), of which 85.0 square miles (220 km2) is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) (1.07%) is water.

Beaumont lies on Texas' coastal plain, about 30 miles (48 km) inland from the Gulf of Mexico, one hour drive east of Houston, 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. The island directly across from Riverfront Park is called Trinity Island. There are also three other islands in the Neches River around the downtown area/port: Harbor, Smith and Clark.


The city of Beaumont, Texas is within the humid subtropical climate zone.[19] This city is located within the Piney Woods, which cover the eastern region of Texas, as well as adjacent Louisiana.[20] This region of Texas receives the most rainfall in the state, with more than 48 inches (1,200 mm) 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, as well as Hurricane Ike in 2008. Hurricane Ike was the largest and most damaging hurricane to hit Beaumont to date, striking 13 September 2008. Causing $32 billion in damage, it is the third-costliest hurricane in United States history.[21] The humidity of the region greatly amplifies the feeling of heat during the summer. The winters are moderated by warm gulf currents. Wintry precipitation is unusual, but does occur. A recent snow event was 24 December 2004, the first such since 1989. However, more recently, Beaumont and the surrounding areas received a light snow on 11 December 2008, with up to 4 inches (100 mm) in the west end. Beaumont and the surrounding areas received a trace to half an inch of light snow on 4 December 2009. These are the earliest measurable snowfalls at the airport since the late 19th century. Although in unofficial records, Beaumont received as much as 30 inches (760 mm) of snow on 14 February and 15 during the blizzard of 1895 that impacted the gulf coast with unusual cold weather. Unofficially the temperature reported a drop to a low of 4 °F (−16 °C) after the storm. The area suffered a severe ice storm in January 1997. On 18 August 2009, a tornado hit the west end of Beaumont, and caused damage to several local businesses and cars. Injuries were minimal.[22]

The Beaumont-Port Arthur region has historically been cited as one of the most polluted urban areas in the United States due to various energy industries and chemical plants in the area. Even so, as of July, 2014, the Beaumont-Port Arthur region was not under any Environmental Protection Agency non-attainment restrictions; however, counties in the Greater Houston area, the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, and El Paso were.[23] As of October, 2014, the Beaumont-Port Arthur area was not under any Texas Commission on Environmental Quality attainment compliance deadlines.[24] Regardless, according to an article published in 2007 focusing on Beaumont's neighbor to the south, Port Arthur, pollution was believed to have caused some general area residents to become sick and has generated debates throughout the media.[25]

Climate data for Beaumont, Texas (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 86
Average high °F (°C) 62.2
Average low °F (°C) 42.5
Record low °F (°C) 11
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.94
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.7 9.8 8.7 6.6 7.8 10.7 11.9 10.8 9.8 7.8 8.5 10.5 113.6
Source: NOAA[26] The Weather Channel (records)[27]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015118,129[28]−0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[29]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 118,296 people, 45,648 households, and 28,859 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 per square mile (221.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 39.8% White, 47.3% African American, 0.0% Native American, 3.3% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 7.1% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.4% of the population.

There were 45,648 households out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.7% were married couples living together, 19.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 30.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.3% the age of 19 or under, 8.5% from 20 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.4 years. For every 100 females there were 95 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,699, according to the American Community Survey (5 year), and the median income for a family was $49,766. The per capita income for the city was $23,137. About 17.6% of families and 22.1% of the population were below the poverty line.


According to the City's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report[30] the top employers in the city are:

Refineries, Port of Beaumont and the Jefferson County Courthouse
# Employer # of Employees
1 Conn's Appliances Inc 4,615
2 Beaumont Independent School District 2,536
3 ExxonMobil Corporation 1,941
4 ENGlobal Corporation 1,879
5 Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital 1,574
6 Memorial Herman Baptist Hospital 1,517
7 City of Beaumont 1,355
8 Jefferson County 1,206
9 Lamar University 1,183
10 Richard Design Services, Inc. 590

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.[31] Conn's Appliances did have its headquarters in Beaumont; however, in mid-2012, Conn's moved its corporate headquarters to The Woodlands.[32] Originally Sweet Leaf Tea Company had its headquarters in Beaumont.[33] The headquarters moved to Austin in October 2003.[34]

Businesses associated with Beaumont


Arts and theatre

Museums and buildings open for tours

Art Museum of Southeast Texas, notice the last remaining column from the Perlstein Building.
John Jay French Museum

Other historic buildings

Jefferson Theatre
Built in 1903 as First Baptist Church, this building is now Tyrrell Historical Library; a 2010 addition stands on the left

Performing arts

Tourism and recreation

In Beaumont

In downtown Beaumont

Main article: Downtown Beaumont
Event Centre

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 five distinct museums.

Other entertainment and recreation venues located downtown include the following.

Golf courses

Within 30 minute drive




Professional sports

University sports

Main article: Lamar Cardinals

The sports teams of Lamar University compete in Division I NCAA athletics as the Lamar Cardinals. The athletics program is a full member of the Southland Conference. The Cardinals and Lady Cardinals compete in 17 varsity sports. The Cardinals Basketball team plays in the Montagne Center and Cardinals Baseball Team plays in Vincent-Beck Stadium.

The university brought back football in 2010. As part of the return, Provost Umphrey Stadium was completely renovated. The return was official when the Cardinals Football team played its first game in 21 years in the fall of 2010. The team currently competes in the Southland Conference as a member of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA).


Local government

According to the city's 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city's various funds had $219.0 million in revenues, $202.8 million in expenditures, $900.1 million in total assets, $586.8 million in total liabilities, and $202.2 million in cash and investments.[54]


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.[55]

Position Name Elected to Current Position Areas Represented

Council Districts

  Mayor Becky Ames 2007–present Citywide
  At Large Position 1 Gethrel 'Get' Williams-Wright 2007–present Citywide
  At Large Position 2 W.L. Pate, Jr. 2007–present Citywide
  Ward 1 Claude Guidroz 2015–present North Beaumont
  Ward 2 Mike Getz 2011–present West Beaumont
  Ward 3 Audwin M. Samuels 1984–1992, 1999–present Central Beaumont
  Ward 4 Robin Mouton 2015–present South Beaumont

State representation

The Texas Department of Transportation operates the Beaumont District Office in Beaumont.[56] The Texas Ninth Court of Appeals is located in the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont.[57] The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Beaumont District Parole Office in Beaumont.[58]

Federal representation

The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates the Beaumont Federal Correctional Complex in an unincorporated area in Jefferson County, near Beaumont.[59]


Colleges and universities

Lamar University

Main article: Lamar University

Beaumont has one state university, Lamar University, which belongs to The Texas State University System. Lamar University was established in 1923 as South Park Junior College. The university is currently classified as a national university. It is also classified as a Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Foundation.[60] With over 100 degrees offered, the university's main academic offerings are in Business, Nursing, Teaching and Engineering. Lamar University's enrollment has grown tremendously in the first decade of the 21st century.[61] This has prompted a building boom at the campus. The school's enrollment as of Fall, 2015 was above 14,966 students.[62]

Lamar Institute of Technology

Lamar Institute of Technology, located directly adjacent to Lamar University, serves as the region's technical college for two-year degrees and certificates. Originally a part of Lamar University and its predecessors since 1923, Lamar Institute of Technology was chartered in 1949 when the Lamar College Bill was passed. The bill was sponsored in the Texas Legislature by State Representative Jack Brooks and Senator W.R. Cousins, Jr. of Beaumont. Lamar Institute of Technology became a separate entity in 1995.[63][64] As of Fall, 2014, enrollment totaled 2,920 students.

Primary and secondary schools

Beaumont is served by the Beaumont Independent School District.

High Schools

Harmony Science Academy of Beaumont, public charter school. Premier High School of Beaumont, also a public charter school in Beaumont.

The Roman Catholic 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, on Highway 105, enrolls PK-3 through 12th grade. All Saints Episcopal School, on Delaware St., enrolls Kindergarten through 8th grade.



The Beaumont Enterprise is the only daily newspaper serving Beaumont. Operating since 1880 The Enterprise is one of the oldest continually operated business in Beaumont. It is operated by the Hearst Corporation. Two weekly publications The Examiner and The Southeast Texas Record serve Beaumont and the area. The Examiner is primarily an investigative reporting paper. the Southeast Texas Record is a legal journal that covers Jefferson and Orange County courts.


KBTV is operated by the same owners of KFDM, Sinclair Broadcast Group.

The region currently has no PBS station of its own; Houston's PBS on channel 8 and Lake Charles LPB on channel 20 do not reach the area. KUHT has a construction permit for a digital translator on RF 24, which would share KFDM's antenna on 25 but the University of Houston has had financial cutbacks and recently cancelled a translator application in Victoria. What outcome this will have on the Beaumont facility remains to be seen.


Frequency Call letters / licensed to (if not Beaumont) Format Owner Notes
560 KLVI News, Talk radio Clear Channel
990 KZZB Gospel "Gospel 990" Martin Broadcasting
1150 KBPO (Port Neches) Spanish-language Christian Radio Christian Ministries of the Valley
1250 KDEI (Port Arthur) Catholic radio Radio Maria
1300 KSET (Lumberton) Silent Proctor-Williams, Inc.
1340 KOLE (Port Arthur) Various Birach Broadcasting
1450 KIKR Sports "Sports Radio 1450/1510 AM" Cumulus Broadcasting
1510 KBED (Nederland) Sports "Sports Radio 1450/1510 AM" Cumulus Broadcasting Simulcast of KIKR only during daytime hours
1600 KOGT (Orange) Country
88.1 KLBT Contemporary Christian The King's Musician Educational Foundation
88.5 KGHY Southern Gospel "The Gospel Highway" CCS Radio
89.7 KTXB Christian radio "Family Radio" Family Stations
90.5 KZFT (Fanette) Christian radio AFR
91.3 KVLU Public Radio Lamar University
92.5 KCOL (Groves) Oldies "Cool 92.5" Clear Channel
93.3 (Port Arthur) KQBU Regional Mexican "Que Buena 93.3" Univision
94.1 KQXY CHR "Q94" Cumulus Broadcasting
95.1 KYKR Country "Kicker 95.1" Clear Channel
97.5 KFNC (Mont Belvieu) Sports "ESPN 97.5" Gow Media-Houston
98.5 KTJM (Port Arthur) Regional Mexican "La Raza 98.5/103.3" Liberman Broadcasting-Houston
99.9 KSHN (Liberty) Full service "Shine All 9" Trinity River Valley Broadcasting
100.7 KKHT (Lumberton) Christian radio "100.7 The Word" Salem Broadcasting
101.7 KAYD (Silsbee) Country "KD101" Cumulus Broadcasting
102.5 KTCX Urban contemporary "Magic 102.5" Cumulus Broadcasting
103.3 K277AG (Beaumont) Hip-Pop and R&B "The Beat 103.3" Clear Channel Simulcast of KKMY-HD2
104.5 (Orange) KKMY Rhythmic CHR "104.5 Kiss FM" Clear Channel
105.3 KXXF (Winnie) Mostly rock but varied (with Walton and Johnson mornings Excel Media
106.1 KIOC (Orange) Rock "Big Dog 106" Clear Channel
107.9 KQQK Regional Mexican "107.9 El Norte" Liberman Broadcasting-Houston


Jack Brooks Regional Airport (BPT), located 9 miles (14 km) south of Beaumont's central business district, serves the region with regional jet flights nonstop to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW), Texas with this scheduled passenger service being operated by American Eagle on behalf of American Airlines. The Beaumont Municipal Airport (BMT) near the western city limit is available for general aviation travel.

Amtrak's Sunset Limited serves Beaumont's train station.

The city operates the Beaumont Municipal Transit System, a city wide bus system called (BMT).

Major Highways

US 69
US 90
US 96
US 287

Notable people

For a full list of people associated with Beaumont, Texas see: People from Beaumont, Texas


Downtown Beaumont, Texas from Laurel St.

Beaumont has 8 buildings over 100 feet (30 m) tall, the tallest being the Edison Plaza, which is 254 feet (77 m) tall.[118] The old Edson Hotel, built in 1928 is nearly the same height at 240 feet (73 m).[119] 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.[120] 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.[121] 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.[122]

The Oaks Historic District has many restored historic homes.

Sister cities

See also


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