The McFaddin-Ward House was built in 1905-1906 using the Beaux-Arts Colonial style of architecture. In 1907 it was bought by W.P.H. and Ira Caldwell McFaddin. McFaddin had made his fortune as one of the owners of the land where the "Spindletop Gusher" was found along with his investments in cattle, rice, trapping and commercial real estate. Today there are three floors of elegant items from this affluent family.There are also over 400 azalea bushes and oak trees over 100 years old on the property. Tours are 10 AM, 11 AM1:30 PM and 2:30 PM Tuesday through Friday, and 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 2:30 PM on Saturday. Reservations are recommended. Tours begin at 1906 Calder Avenue. Admission is $3.
The magnificent Jefferson Theater was designed by famed architect Emile Weil and was built in 1927. Only the best materials were used and the construction cost 1 million dollars. The grand opening on 14 November 1927, included a performance by the Jefferson Grand Orchestra and the movie "Rose of the Golden West" starring Mary Astor and Gilbert Roland. A variety of traveling shows, vaudevillians, dramas, and movies were shown here. The premiere for the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" was held here in 1946 with James Stewart and Frank Capra in attendance. After surviving a threat of destruction in the 70s, the theater was restored to its original splendor. Today the theater hosts a variety of types of shows and entertainment. The restoration has won several awards, and the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The best place to start your visit to Beaumont is the Beaumont Convention and Visitor Bureau, where the friendly and helpful people will help you find brochures and maps to help you plan your visit and they even have free postcards. The parking area is large and convenient to downtown attractions. Parking throughout the downtown area is also free.Hours are 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. On the weekends you can get info at the Ben J. Rogers Regional Visitors Center at 5055 Interstate 10 South and the Babe Zaharias Museum and Visitors Center at 1750 Interstate 10 East.
The Art Museum of Southeast Texas hosts a nice collection of fine and folk art through paintings, sculptures, prints, photos and other forms of art specializing in regional art. The museum has special displays for kids and other family-oriented attractions. They also have special Family Arts Days and a cafe. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and 12 PM to 5 PM on Sunday. Admission is free.
This museum is dedicated to Thomas Alva Edison, an American Inventor and Innovator who had over 1000 patents; the most famous of which was the incandescent light bulb.There are over 60 artifacts and a number of interactive exhibits relating to his inventions. Probably everything you ever wanted to know about Edison, possibly even more. The museum is located in an historic 1929electrical substation. There are restrictions on photography in the museum. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. Admission is free.
The Texas Energy Museum tells the story of petroleum geology, energy and science through a variety of multi-media exhibits. Especially neat was the story of the "Spindletop" gusher found here in 1901. The animatronics (robot like figures) and hands-on exhibits add to the experience. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM Tuesday through Saturday and 1 PM to 5 PM on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
The Chambers House is one of two owned by the Beaumont Heritage Society. It was built in 1906 and was bought by C. Homer Chambers and his wife Edith Fuller Chambers, in 1914. The Chambers daughters lived in the home until 2004. Other than a renovation in 1924, the home is little changed over the years. It is filled with items from the Chambers Family dating from 1920 to 1945. A nice example of upper-middle class Texas living. Hours are 10 AM to 3 PM Tuesday through Friday, and 10AM to 2 PM on Saturday. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and $1 for students.
The Fire Museum of Texas has one of he most photographed items in Beaumont, a 24 foot tall, working fire hydrant painted with a white and black spots paint scheme that was used in the movie "1001 Dalmatians". It also has a number of interesting displays showing the history of firefighting and firefighting equipment in Beaumont and beyond. Equipment includes items all the way back to 1653. They also have quite a few displays and activities aimed at kids making this museum one of "Texas Best Free Family Destinations". The building is the 1927 Beaumont Fire Department Headquarters Station, a registered Texas Historic Landmark. There is also a "Texas Firefighter Memorial" on the museum grounds.Hours are 8 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. Admission is free; but donations help keep the doors open.
The city has experienced a sudden boom, but it stopped shortly, as most of the oil business has moved to Houston. This has frozen the downtown as if it is 1930, and you can see a lot of interesting art deco buildings.
Downtown also has an art museum, a concert hall and a firefighters' museum.