Beaumont, city (1990 pop. 114,323), seat of Jefferson co., Tex., on the Sabine-Neches Waterway; inc. 1838. A ship channel provides the facilities of a modern deepwater port, with shipyards and large storage tanks. Beaumont is a major oil city. With Port Arthur and Orange, it forms the "Golden Triangle," a vast petrochemical and industrial complex. Other industries are based on the forests and farmlands of the area. There are rice mills, granaries, lumber and paper plants, meatpacking houses, and huge metalworks. Lush East Texas pine forests were the base of the lumbering that began here before the Civil War. Shipbuilding followed, and as livestock raising and rice farming spread in the surrounding area, Beaumont became a processing and transportation center. Its life was revolutionized in 1901 when the world's first principal oil gusher came in at nearby Spindletop; a 58-ft (18-m) granite shaft marks the spot, now a national historic site. Beaumont has pioneer and oil museums and an art center and is the seat of Lamar Univ. Annual events include a horse show, a river festival, and a rodeo.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.