Port Arthur is in Jefferson County, Texas. It is located on the western bank of Sabine Lake, which drains into the Gulf of Mexico. Port Arthur is the center of The Golden Triangle, a large oil refinery network, and has a population of 53,818. In 2010, an oil tanker and a barge collided, spilling 450,000 gallons of oil into the Sabine/Neches waterway alongside the city.
A Brief History
The area now known as Port Arthur was originally a settlement by the name of Aurora. In 1837, the beginnings of a town began to take shape. By 1840, local promoters began selling plots of land, but they weren’t terribly popular. Due to a series of unfortunate events, including a devastating hurricane and the activity of the Civil War, Aurora became a ghost town.
Fortunately, settler Arthur Stilwell repopulated the town and formed a portage business called Port Arthur Channel and Dock Company. The new port was officially recognized when the first steamer from Britain, Saint Oswald, arrived in 1899.
Modern Day Life
Port Arthur is still an important port city and has become a desirable tourist destination due to it’s idyllic waterfront location. Hotel Sabine, built in 1929, was a historical institution until the 1980s, but has since been closed. The Museum of the Gulf Coast is located in the town and is considered an important piece of Texas history.
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