City of Port Neches
1207 Port Neches Avenue
Port Neches, TX 77651
Located on a bluff above the Neches River, Port Neches is surrounded by large industry and has a population that has grown to more than 14,000. Modern up-to-date schools, churches and business firms round out a modern community of today for those looking for a pleasant, clean and friendly home town. Visit the Port Neches Chamber of Commerce site at www.portneches.com.
History of Port Neches
Ninety-five years ago, a community on the banks of the Neches River known as Grigsby’s Bluff became Port Neches with the birth of the petroleum industry in the area. But the actual history of the city goes back more than 160 years to 1834 when Joseph Grigsby, Port Neches’ first settler, came here with his family and established a community which he named after himself. Other families came to Grigsby’s Bluff in the 1840’s and 1850’s, and by 1860 census records reveal that 80 persons were residents of the growing community. The Civil War found the city the site of Confederate Fort Grigsby, guarding the Neches River for 9 months after the defenses of Sabine Pass were abandoned.
With the erection of refining and petrochemical plants in the area after the turn of the century, Grigsby’s bluff became Port Neches in 1901, according to state historical archive records in Austin. One of the first major plants built was by Central Asphalt and Refining. In 1906 the Texas Company purchased and remodeled the plant, making many improvements for the workers and the community.
This was only the beginning, for the small settlement has continued to grow until today Port Neches can boast of having one of the largest synthetic rubber plants in the world and a multi-million dollar chemical plant.
Port Neches Community Profile
Location: Southeast Texas, in center of the Beaumont-Orange-Port Arthur Golden Triangle.
Population: 14,452 (city estimate)
Government: City Manager, Mayor and five Councilmen
Transportation: Texas 365 and FM 366 intersect in Port Neches, Texas 347 borders the city.
Weather: Semi-Tropical. Average January temperatures—maximum low 60’s; minimum mid 40’s. Average July temperatures—maximum low 90’s; minimum low 70’s.
Newspaper: The MID-COUNTY CHRONICLE is published weekly. The BEAUMONT ENTERPRISE and PORT ARTHUR NEWS are published daily.
Television: CBS (6) Beaumont, NBC (4) Port Arthur, ABC (12) Beaumont
Cable television is available through TCI Cablevision.
Radio: 8 AM stations and 9 FM stations in the Golden Triangle.
Retail Shopping: Shopping areas provide a variety of goods and services in pleasant surroundings and convenient locations. Most commercial businesses are on Port Neches Avenue, Nall Street (Hwy 365), or Magnolia Avenue (Hwy. 366).
Port Neches Parks & Recreation
Among the city parks in Port Neches is the Port Neches City Park, fronting on the Neches river with public boat ramps, swimming pool, picnic areas, outdoor lighted basketball and tennis courts, the Riverview Pavilion and a children’s play arena. Port Neches City Park is the site of the Tugboat Island Playground and the Christmas on the Neches Festival held on the first Saturday each September.
Other parks in Port Neches offer baseball facilities, playground areas and a running track. Park information: 409/727-2182.
Close proximity to the Neches River, Gulf of Mexico, bayous and Sabine Lake enables local citizens to enjoy all types of fishing—salt and fresh water; boating—power and sail; and water sports—skiing, swimming, and surfing.
Golf: (one hour or less from Port Neches) PUBLIC COURSES: Bayou Din and Henry Homburg in Beaumont, Port Groves in Groves and Babe Zaharias in Port Arthur. PRIVATE COURSES: Beaumont Country Club, Pinewood, and Willow Creek in Beaumont. Port Arthur Country Club in Port Arthur; Riverwood in Vidor; Wildwood in Village Mills; Chambers County in Anahuac; Sunset Grove in Orange, and Mallard Cove in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
LA MAISON BEAUSOLEIL (House of Beautiful Sunshine) was named after JOSEPH DIT BEAUSOLEIL. With other Acadien families and Indians of the region of Nova Scotia, Canada, he fought a guerrilla type war against the English after the start of the deportation in 1755. LA MAISON BEAUSOLEIL was donated to LES ACADIENS DU TEXAS by the children of Martin Broussard and Editha Bourque, direct descendants of JOSEPH BROUSSARD DIT BEAUSOLEIL.
Built around 1810 in St. Martin Parish Louisiana, this authentic Cajun architectural style home was transported via barge down the Vermilion River south to the Intercoastal Canal then west into the Neches River to the city park of Port Neches, Texas.
This home of cypress was restored by LES ACADIENS DU TEXAS, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the culture and language of the Acadien people.
In October, 1990, LES ACADIENS DU TEXAS obtained an old cypress barn near Kaplan, Louisiana. This barn was dismantled and rebuilt near LA MAISON BEAUSOLEIL. In due time it will be part of the museum complex displaying farm equipment of the type used by the Acadiens of that era.
Presently, LA MAISON BEAUSOLEIL is open on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 PM. Other times can be arranged for bus tours and special occasions by calling 409-722-1688, 408-722-9554, or 409-832-6733.
A group of big-thinking volunteers planted a seed many months ago at Port Neches Park. After tending to their project virtually by the day since then, the volunteers witnessed the seed grow to impressive heights. And then, on Sunday, April 21, 1996, it bloomed into a marvel for all the children of the area—Tugboat Island. Tugboat Island is a playground in Port Neches Park that was designed by children, built by volunteers, and funded by donations. It is reported to be the third largest playground of its type in the nation. The looks on the faces of the children trying it out for the first time that Sunday are the proof that it us the best fun spot around.
The grinches and grouches may argue that a playground is a superfluous frill that isn’t worth the $160,000 raised by the community or the many thousands of hours put in by more than 1,000 volunteers. But those who would be so shortsighted can’t see that Tugboat Island is evidence of a community that cares about its future and is willing to work together—and work hard—to accomplish a goal. It is evidence that thinking big can produce big results. It also shows that including everyone, down to letting the children who will play on Tugboat Island draw conceptual designs that were incorporated into the final plan, can bring a segmented community together in a team effort. Tugboat Island is built of stout timbers with the workmanship of some of the best craftsmen in the area. It should be a bright spot for Port Neches and the entire area for many years to come.
It will not be hard for visitors to the playground to recognize some of the benefits of Tugboat Island in the happy faces of the children cavorting on a spectacular playground. But to those who shared the work, Tugboat Island Playground will stand as a testament to a community that puts its money and sweat into following a vision to make this area just a little better for everyone.
Roger Cowles, Editor
PORT ARTHUR NEWS