Beaumont and Jefferson County
Beaumont is a city of over 118,000 (pretty much unchanged since 2000) located at the intersection of Interstate 10 and US Highways90, 69, 96 and 287 in the Gulf Coast part of East Texas. There was a trading post built here, then in 1824 a town began which was called Tevis Bluff after the first settlers Noah and Nancy Tevis. In 1835, Henry Millard and partners bought their property and started building a "planned town" called Beaumont after his wife's maiden name. In 1838, Beaumont was designated the county seat for Jefferson County. The town's growth really took off with the discovery of the "Spindletop" oil gusher.The Jefferson County Courthouse was built in 1892 and expanded in the 1930s.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
The Preserve consists of nine land units and six water corridors encompassing more than 97,000 acres. It has 4 of the 5 kinds of carnivorous plants in the US. These are pitcher plants, sundews, bladderworts, and butterworts. The Sundew Trail (which was recommended by the lady at the visitor's center because it has a shorter inner loop) has two of them on it - Sundews and Pitcher Plants. The outer loop is 1.6 miles and the inner loop is .8 miles. Both loops are accessible; the inner loop is mostly boardwalk.
I took the little pamphlet (photo 5) which explains the trail from the box (and when we finished with the trail, I put it back). The pamphlet explained that four species of southern pine in this section (longleaf, shortleaf, loblolly and slash). It also explained that the sundew is a very small plant - often smaller than a dime - which is a flat red rosette with red hairlike glands. Each gland produces a sticky fluid which acts like flypaper to trap small insects.
So I was walking along the trail and slightly elevated boardwalk carefully inspecting the ground. Bob got somewhat ahead of me on the path, so when I actually found some sundews, he was out of earshot. I was thrilled to find them, and got down and took some pictures.The only thing that would make it better would be if I had some object in the picture to show the scale. But I didn't have any money, and in any case I couldn't have retrieved anything I put down there - like car keys. I wouldn't have minded losing a dime, but I wouldn't want to lose the keys.
After I got finished taking the pictures, I went on down the trail and found Bob sitting down waiting for me where he had found some pitcher plants. So I took some pictures of them too.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Budget Travel
This unique and well kept example of "Beaux-Arts Colonial" style architecture was built in 1905/6. In 1907, prosperous locals W. P. H. and Ida Caldwell McFaddin moved in with their family. The house was in continuous occupancy by the family for several decades.
The furnishings have changed very little over time, and what was changed was thankfully saved in the upstairs storage rooms. Therefore, the estate has a huge amount of intact articles that span the century to show both the culture and styles that evolved in the affluent family circles.
There is a separate carriage house that has various automobiles and carriages. This is open only on the weekends with limited hours.
The 90-minute tour is escorted by guide after watching a ~10 minute historical video in the visitor center. Tours are available at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and are limited to 8 people. Cost is $3.00 , reservations are recommended since operating hours are limited. No photographs are allowed inside.
Sundays, only the first floor is open for tours (cost is free on Sunday)Related to:
- Historical Travel
Fire Museum of Texas
Located in a historical Firehouse dating back to 1927, Beaumont's museum was opened in 1986. It is endorsed by the Texas State Firemen and Fire Marshals as being the "Official" museum of Texas.
The two story firehouse is full of local engines and equipment dating back to the 1850's. There are examples of horse-drawn pump wagons, articulated ladder trucks, etc. There are very well presented displays giving the historical build up of not only Texas' firefighting pride, but also the nation's as well.
From pointing out the fact that Benjamin Franklin was responsible starting the first volunteer firefighter brigade in 1736, all the way to present day technologies, the museum give good information and lots of exhibits.
It is free to all to visit, however donations are gladly accepted. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8am to 4:30pm.
World's Largest (3rd) Fire Hydrant
When this hydrant was built, it was the world's largest. Built in 1999 as a promotion by Disney for the re-release of '101 Dalmatians', this hydrant is spotted black and white and stands 24' - 2" tall.
It stood as the tallest for two years until someone built a larger one in Manitoba, and later in South Carolina.
Since the hydrant is outside of the museum, technically speaking, visitation is free 24-hours a day. The hydrant is 4500 pounds and is capable of releasing 1500 gallons of water per minute.
In 2002, the park was renamed C.A. "Pete" Shelton Plaza, to commemorate the retired firefighters and those killed in duty.
First Baptist Church / Tyrrell Public Library
While this building definitely looks like a church, with spires and stained glass windows along the naves, it also mysteriously resembles a medieval castle.
However, neither are true today. Originally built in 1902 as the First Baptist Church, this brick building was bought by Capt. Tyrrell in 1923 when the congregation moved to a larger facility.
Capt. Tyrrell donated the building to the city provided it be used as a public library. Today, the eclectic mixture of facades and architecture is home important historical collections dating back to 1790's.
And since its a public library, they offer free 1hr internet.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Drive tour of Historic District
Beaumont's history goes back nearly a century. Together with that and the affluence brought on by the industrial oil booms, there are some magnificent homes and buildings to see.
Mostly centralized in what is now labeled the "Historic District", I highly recommend taking an hour or two and driving/walking/cycling these streets and marvel at the colonial architecture.
Homes in the area typically begin with dates going back to the 1890's and 1900's. Styles change depending on the house, but all are ornate and show wonderful craftsmanship.
The picture here is of the Sander's House (immediately behind the Fire Museum). It was built in 1895. Being the same woodworker responsible for the stairs in the Tyrrell Library, the house is the epitome of woodworking craftsmanship.
The historic district, designated in 1993, aims as preserving the area by maintaining ordinances of construction qualities and development.
Visitor's Center for Big Thicket National Preserve
We got to the Visitor's Center about one. We went through the exhibits (photos 2, 3, and 5) and then the attendant showed us a 10 minute video tape (the film equipment for the big theatre was destroyed in Rita).
Big Thicket (photo 4) was the first National Preserve, and there are about 7 different locations in the park. It wasn't settled until quite late because it was such an impenetrable area. We talked to the lady who volunteered at the desk (the rangers take off on Monday because they work on weekends) about her experiences in Rita - she lives in Beaumont.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Swing Out Civic Club -great place to 2 step
Club located at 3859 Stagg Dr. easy to get to directly across the street from a shopping strip called Gateway. Only open 2 nights a week Tuesday and Friday nights..web site with the same name .com. All adult R&B, Jazz and Zydeco music BYOB with set ups available for purchase, very nice atmosphere and the best music not heard on the radio...no athletic wear at all, jeans allowed but men should wear dress shoes of some kind, loved it and will make sure to return.
Beaumont is a great place to see some typical Southern architecture. The city retains a small town atmosphere and style.Related to:
We travel to Beaumont 3-6 times a year. Usually we book 3-6 rooms for a stay of 3-6 nights. We have...more
$69 as of January 2014. This hotel looked decent on the outside and had nice rooms with a small...more
2375 South I-10 & Hwy 69, Opening in Winter 2009, Beaumont, Texas, 77705, United States
Good for: Solo
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