Beaumont, Texas Press Kit
Located in the Southeast corner of Texas, Beaumont is about an hour east of Houston (85 miles) and 30 minutes from the Louisiana border on the Neches River near the Gulf of Mexico. Its strategic position straddling two states has created a highly unique culture that’s the best of both worlds with Southern charm to boot. For some, it’s nothing more than a drive-by town on I-10, but we’re here to show you there’s much more than meets the eye.
Originally put on the map for the Lucas Gusher in the early 1900s, which would become one of the largest oil fields in American history, the area was aptly named the Golden Triangle for the insane wealth generated. While its Boomtown days are long gone, nature, characters, and community remain, reflective of decades gone by, yet optimistic and innovative for the future of the area and industry.
Now, the region appeals to several types of travelers, from nature enthusiasts to food lovers and art seekers. With a little something for everyone, it’s time to usher in a new heyday of tourism in Texas.
So why here, why now?
History & Overview
Chosen by fortune for glory, the world first knew Beaumont through Spindletop, the oil field that proved petroleum could be found in quantities to supply the world. The technology, industry and commerce that followed the petroleum bonanza grew and diversified until today. Traces of those days of great oil wealth remain in Beaumont’s abundance of elegant homes, dedication to the performing arts, plethora of museums, eminent hospitals and a university system working in partnership with industry.
The first visitors to the region were fur trappers from France and Spain in the early 1800s. Beaumont was established in 1835 along the banks of the Neches River, ten years before Texas gained U.S. statehood. The Third Congress of the Republic of Texas chartered Beaumont on Dec. 16, 1838, and the city soon became a lumber, cattle and timber town and the economic center of East Texas
Today, Beaumont is the region's largest city with a population of 118,000, and the seat of Jefferson County. It is a natural and cultural crossroads, rich in history and offering the best of many worlds to visitors. Feature attractions include Gator Country Adventure Park, Spindletop/Gladys City Boomtown Museum, the McFaddin-Ward House, Downtown Beaumont Museum & Entertainment District, Texas Energy Museum, Lamar University and Tyrrell Park.
The McFaddin‑Ward House, built in 1906, takes visitors back to a period of debutantes, timeless beauty and grace. The house remains virtually unchanged since its construction and contains many original furnishings and other alluring collectibles. This historical home is one of a handful of period homes you can tour offering an intimate look into the life in Beaumont through the decades. Colorful murals dot the city, Gator County and airboat rides are the place to intimately get intimately acquainted with the locals, and just for the fun of it, Beaumont has the Big Thicket National Preserve, fresh and saltwater lakes, and Texas Gulf Coast beaches to splash around in.
Legends Born and Made
Many famous people have called Beaumont home from musical superstars to sports personalities. Such names you may recognize include J. P. Richardson (The Big Bopper), Janis Joplin, artist Robert Rauschenberg and country music stars Mark Chesnutt and Clay Walker. The region was also the birthplace of George Jones, J.P. Richardson and Tracy Byrd, as well as the greatest female athlete of all-time, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, which you can learn more about at her namesake museum.
Food and Flavor
Beaumont and the Southeast Texas region is famous for its eclectic culinary cuisine. Bordered by Louisiana, Beaumont enjoys Cajun and Creole influences mixed with tasty Tex‑Mex and savory Southern flavors in Texas-sized portions. Dishes to seek out include barbecue crabs, boudain, kolaches, crawfish, gumbo and etouffee, dock‑fresh Gulf seafood, barbecued brisket, and much more. Study our A-Z culinary guide for the city's best bites.
Redefining an Industry
In 1892, the Gladys City Company was formed to drill for oil on the city's south side. Beaumont became of age Jan. 10, 1901, when the first great oil well in the world – the Anthony F. Lucas Gusher – blew in at Spindletop. At the turn of the century, the population was 8,500. Within 30 days after the discovery of oil at Spindletop, the population exploded to 30,000 people.
Along with discovery came the nation's industrial age and 600 oil companies, including petrochemical giants Guffey Petroleum Co. (Gulf, now Chevron), the Texas Co. (now Texaco/Star Enterprises), Standard Oil (Exxon) and Magnolia Petroleum Co. (Mobil), which has merged into Exxon‑Mobil. Beaumont grew from a city of 10,000 before the boom to 50,000 by 1903.
Beaumont is peppered with museums specializing in everything from the great female sports legend Babe Didrikson Zaharias to the work of firefighters with the Fire Museum of Texas, home of the original world’s largest fire hydrant. The gusher that changed the world first began by spreading prosperity throughout the families and residents of Beaumont. The Spindletop/Gladys City Boomtown Museum is a replica of the town that developed shortly after the famous Lucas Gusher erupted in 1901. The museum is complete with historical equipment and a gushing oil well. The Texas Energy Museum also highlights the oil and gas industry with educational storytelling and robotic characters that speak of early oil-field life.
Called "America's Ark" and the "Biological Crossroads of North America," the Big Thicket National Preserve is part of the national park system and a convergence of ecosystems and habitats perfect for hiking, biking and paddling. Village Creek State Park is our most accessible park and a hub for kayaking, fishing and camping. Bird watchers know Beaumont sits between two migratory bird flyways; the Central and Mississippi, which is home to hundreds of species and provides year-round locations for outdoor explorations including: Cattail Marsh Wetlands, Pleasure Island, Sea Rim State Park, and High Island.
Accessibility & Location
A hub and spoke destination, visitors can arrive via highway, air, rail or even water. Beaumont is conveniently located on Interstate 10, just 1.5-hours from Houston, 3.5-hours from Austin and 4 hours from San Antonio, Dallas or New Orleans. 25-miles from the Louisiana border and 35-miles north of the Gulf of Mexico, you have access to city, beach, and country amenities all with easy drive time. American Airlines serves the Jack Brooks Regional Airport (BPT) with worldwide connections through Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). For train transportation, Beaumont is on the Sunset Limited Amtrak line, which runs from New Orleans to Los Angeles.
Industries & Agriculture
Located along the banks of the Neches River, the area is a natural resource basin producing oil, gas and salt. A healthy agricultural economy includes rice, soybean, blueberries, crawfish, wheat, grain sorghum and livestock. In addition to having one of the world's largest refining and petrochemical complexes, The Port of Beaumont ranks No. 4 in the United States in total ship tonnage handled. Other industries include shipyards, lumber, pulp and paper mills, and rice mills. Beaumont has also become a source of sophisticated medical instruments and precision industrial equipment.
It's What You Make It
Our attractions are eclectic and varied as your interests. If you want to get active hiking, horseback riding, and kayaking day in and day out, you can. For the history buffs, follow the Black Gold Trail to learn about our part in Texas's discovery of oil and admire the architectural marvels. For the art lovers, there's murals and museums aplenty. Or, if you'd rather sit and relax and have a little R&R, you can do that too.