Old Stuff Found Here And There


Wow, while looking at the other "Plaza Hotel" photo, I was directed to this nice photo.  I went ahead and bought the one below and this one too.  They will be put into my "PA History" file.  This one was very interesting to me because it shows adjoining buildings and part of the city.  Perhaps we can study this one and figure out just where it was located.  Enjoy.


Here is another interesting tidbit I found, attached to the above photo for sale on the internet.  Here's the description.......

"The Plaza Hotel in  Port Arthur, Texas was  built  by John Warner Gates, a.k.a. “Bet-a-Million” Gates, the  industrialist who took an active part in developing the city  founded by Arthur Edward Stillwell, builder of the Kansas City  Southern Railroad. Completed in 1909, the Plaza was built on the  site of the original Hotel Sabine (a second hotel by that name  was constructed in 1929) which had been lost to a fire in 1904.  Built by United States Realty Company, the  hotel was funded by local businessmen, who raised  $150,000, along with Gates himself, who contributed matching  funds. Designed in the Spanish Mission style that was popular in  that era, John W. Gates himself managed the hotel during its  first few weeks of business, hiring African-Americans as waiters  during a time when African-Americans were prohibited from living  and working in the city. When the hotel opened in November, 1909  Gates dedicated it “to the future of Port Arthur ... a port that  one day shall rival New Orleans and Galveston, and a city that  shall be the metropolis of the Gulf Coast!” “Bet-a-Million”  Gates died two years later and by July 1933 the fate of the  Plaza Hotel had been decided. Described in a Port Arthur  newspaper article as “only a shell of its former self,” the  owners determined that the land upon which the hotel stood was  worth more without the building."

I can't recall where this site would be today.  Looks like Lakeshore Drive originally.  But this additional little tidbit was there too.


Port Arthur, Texas

In 1840, an early settlement called Aurora existed where Port Arthur is now, but settlers took little interest and it never grew to become a town. A second try was made by John Sparks, who  moved his family  into the area, 4 miles away from where  the Eastern Texas Railroad passed, but the rail lines taken away  during the Civil War and an 1886 hurricane drove away the  remaining settlers. Railroad pioneer Arthur Stilwell came to the  area and established Port Arthur in 1895, stating in his later  writings that he was inspired to choose that location by  “brownies” that spoke to him. He founded the town with help from  Dutch investors, and built the original Sabine Hotel along with  a “natatorium,” which these days we’d simply call an indoor  swimming pool.  Port Arthur was incorporated as a city in  1898. A canal was cut by the  Port  Arthur Channel and Dock Co. and the port opened in August 1899.  That year, Stilwell invited his friend, steel magnate John  “Bet-a-Million” Gates, to visit Port Arthur. Over the next 20  years Gates contributed greatly to the city, founding the first  bank, the Port Arthur Light, Power and Ice Company, the Mary  Gates Hospital and the Port Arthur Business College. The  population jumped from 900 in the year 1900 to over 20,000 in  1920.

Today Port Arthur, located about 91 miles  east of Houston, is known for holding the largest oil refinery  in the United States. It is home to the Museum of the Gulf Coast  and Lamar State College - Port Arthur, formerly the Port Arthur  Business College,  founded by  “Bet-a-Million”  Gates. The 2010 population of Port Arthur was 58, 818, down 6.8%  from the year 2000.



While searching I came across a number of photos of old PA in a foldout.  The guy wanted  $200 for the entire foldout, I would buy it if he was within reason.  Instead I just grabbed a few that interests me. 

Apparently someone paid his price as it's not there anymore.  So these are now extra valuable to me.

These are the ones I picked, edited for size and content.  Note the capacity listed for Gulf, in gallons.  Today the measurement is in hundreds of thousands of 55 gallon barrels.  Also there was this neat history of PA.     Enjoy. 



Port Arthur is a city in Jefferson County within the Beaumont–Port Arthur metropolitan area of the U.S. state of Texas. A small, uninhabited portion extends into Orange County. It is 90 mi (140 km) east of Houston. The largest oil refinery in the United States is located in Port Arthur.

The population of Port Arthur was 53,818 at the 2010 census,[4] down from 57,755 at the 2000 census. Early attempts at settlements in the area had all failed. However, in 1895, Arthur Stilwell founded Port Arthur, and the town quickly grew. Port Arthur was incorporated as a city in 1898 and soon developed into a seaport. It eventually became the center of a large oil refinery network.  The Rainbow Bridge across the Neches River connects Port Arthur to Bridge City.
Aurora was an early settlement attempt near the mouth of Taylor Bayou on Sabine Lake, about 14 miles (23 km) long and 7 miles (11 km) wide. It is a saltwater estuary formed by the confluence of the Neches and Sabine Rivers. Through its tidal outlet, 5-mile-long (8 km) Sabine Pass, Sabine Lake drains some 50,000 sq mi (100,000 km2) of Texas and Louisiana into the Gulf of Mexico.
The town was conceived in 1837, and in 1840 promoters led by Almanzon Huston were offering town lots for sale. Some were sold, but Huston's project failed to attract many settlers. The area next was known as "Sparks", after John Sparks, who moved his family to the shores of Sabine Lake near the site of Aurora. The Eastern Texas Railroad, completed between Sabine Pass and Beaumont, Texas, passed 4 miles (6 km) west of Sparks. However, the American Civil War soon began, and rail lines were removed. In 1886, a destructive hurricane hit the coast, causing the remaining residents to dismantle their homes and move to Beaumont.  By 1895, Aurora had become a ghost town.
Arthur Stilwell led the resettling of the area as part of his planned city of Port Arthur. Pleasure Island now separates the city from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The 18.5-mile (29.8 km) man-made island was created between 1899 and 1908 by the Corps of Engineers to support development of the port.
Arthur Stilwell founded the Port Arthur Channel and Dock Company to manage the port facilities. The port officially opened with the arrival of the British steamer Saint Oswald in 1899. (The ship later sank in 1915, after colliding with the French battleship Suffren during World War I.)
When oil was discovered in the region, Port Arthur developed for a time as the center of the largest oil refinery network in the world.
Nearby towns : 
Beaumont (county seat)
Bevil Oaks
Port Arthur (small part in Orange County)
Port Neches
Taylor Landing
Census-designated places
Central Gardens
Unincorporated areas
Beauxart Gardens



Pleasure Island Rides

An interesting photo of Pleasure Island back when.  I could have been in there because my parents took me to the rides many times.

Sears on Woodworth

A real photo that I bought couple years ago.  It's Sears on Woodworth in the construction stage.  Spent many a day there in the toy section, going up the escalator stairs.

Proctor Street from Houston Ave.

Another real photo I just recently bought.  I studied it with magnifying glass but I just can't get an idea of about when it was made.  Had to be no later than the 40's with all the buildings there.


Bought these old PA photos online....  would you believe

they came from Australia


Texaco Oil Station

Bookies Service Station at 2500 Proctor St

Sometime in the 1940s

Gulf Service Station

 7th Street and Savannah Ave

Circa 1940's

(I can remember this place in the 50's)

Texas Oil Company

Main Gate - 19th St


(Crossed that gate hundreds of times)


Found this going through old TJ Football news clippings.  Happened to see this on another page, from 12-3-66.  Open it up and look at the ad on bottom right.

Here's what Roger had to say when I asked him about it....

Johnny Courville (Preston) was a pleasure to work for because he was a true artist.  Nice memories.

Johnny opened what was formerly the "It'll Do" lounge which was roughly across the highway from the Pipefitters local  It was a nice place, especially after Johnny had some remodeling done. 

The other musicians were my brother Ruben on drums and Paul Protas on bass. We played six nights a week but things were slow in the early part of the week.  We more than made up for it on the week-end and Saturdays were packed.  Even then, Johnny had a big following, especially around the Bishop Byrne crowd.
I'm not sure what happened but Johnny had a problem with the lease and we left the place about Jan. '67.  It was just as well since I went to Army basic training in Feb. and my brother Ruben left for the Navy about the same time.  It was many years ago and yet not so long ago.



Going through my attic looking for a certain picture, I came across a box that apparently I had not been into since high school.  Leaving for Basic Training right after graduation, I just tossed things into this box and left it.


Amazingly it was intact after several moves.


Inside I found some touching items, some I can scan and show here.  Other items are the actual PA News with all the pictures of graduates dated June 10, 1962.  It's very brittle though.


There are dozens and dozens of notes passed in school from guys and gals,

detailing the pains and joys of teenagers growing up with the problems of

little money and searching for things to amuse them.  The girls' problems

always involve wanting a particular boy and to be loved.  It is a glimpse 

into teenage life in the late 50's and early 60's.


One day I may write a book.





Don't think I made this party.

Printed at our old printshop.

Have all 10 pages in good condition, but legal size


Real  Student Directory

This is touching

A long deserving thanks

Some great names


Not sure where I got this but it's interesting, and brittle.  Will probably laminate it.


From Jack who?

Surely everyone got one of these