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Old 08-15-2013, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
12,065 posts, read 10,756,293 times
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Okay, any TX history buffs here? I have some questions about the way things developed.

So oil was discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont and that caused a boom in the Beaumont area. Why then did Houston become the 4th largest city in America and Beaumont has struggled to grow? I realize that Houston has the port but Port Arthur is closer to the Gulf. Why was Beaumont/Port Arthur unable to capitalize on their mineral wealth and strategic position the way that Houston did?

I'm not meant to be bashing Beaumont/Port Arthur, just figuring out why SE TX has lagged other parts of the state. It feels like part of Louisiana, both in culture but also in economic development (or lack thereof).
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Northwest Houston
5,682 posts, read 5,664,631 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cBach View Post
Okay, any TX history buffs here? I have some questions about the way things developed.

So oil was discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont and that caused a boom in the Beaumont area. Why then did Houston become the 4th largest city in America and Beaumont has struggled to grow? I realize that Houston has the port but Port Arthur is closer to the Gulf. Why was Beaumont/Port Arthur unable to capitalize on their mineral wealth and strategic position the way that Houston did?

I'm not meant to be bashing Beaumont/Port Arthur, just figuring out why SE TX has lagged other parts of the state. It feels like part of Louisiana, both in culture but also in economic development (or lack thereof).
Galveston has asked itself the same question, many times and the answer is similar. First, Beaumont is 18ft above sea level. That elevation makes Beaumont extremely vulnerable to storm surge. Houston at 50 ft at least is not vulnerable to that. Of course Houston being named after the guy who invented Texas probably helped as well. Not only was it named after Sam, but Sam actually lived here and was somewhat of a local booster, so Houston was more politically connected. Third Houston just made better decisions when it came to transportation infrastructure. One of the stories I read, said that Houston got the corporate offices because that's where the executive flew too when they visited the oil fields. They would fly into Houston, then drive to the fields 90 miles away. When it came time to decide where to office, they picked the place closer to the airport than the fields. Lastly the refineries that both places are known for are much more visible and prominent in the golden Triangle than they are in Houston, those towns literally grew up around them. Houston for the most part grew away from its industrial base.

I really think that Houston and Beaumont are connected to each other and for the most part should be considered the same part of S.E. Texas. I expect the two to grow together and combine into one market sometime in the not to distant future. A lot of people in Texas really dump on the Golden Triangle, not me, for I realize that many of the things that make Houston , Houston, are the same things that make the Triangle what it is as well.
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
13,643 posts, read 30,346,625 times
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I think the demise of Galveston in 1900 and subsequent 'transfer' of the port activities to Houston gave Houston a head start. This excerpt from wiki (below) makes me think that Houston has a significant head start in infrastructure that allowed it to capitalize on the economic growth of the early 20th century:

Quote:
By 1860, Houston had emerged as a commercial and railroad hub for the export of cotton. Railroad spurs from the Texas inland converged in Houston, where they met rail lines to the ports of Galveston and Beaumont. During the American Civil War, Houston served as a headquarters for General John Bankhead Magruder, who used the city as an organization point for the Battle of Galveston. After the Civil War, Houston businessmen initiated efforts to widen the city's extensive system of bayous so the city could accept more commerce between downtown and the nearby port of Galveston. By 1890, Houston was the railroad center of Texas.

In 1900, after Galveston was struck by a devastating hurricane, efforts to make Houston into a viable deepwater port were accelerated. The following year, oil discovered at the Spindletop oil field near Beaumont prompted the development of the Texas petroleum industry. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt approved a $1 million improvement project for the Houston Ship Channel. By 1910 the city's population had reached 78,800, almost doubling from a decade before. African-Americans formed a large part of the city's population, numbering 23,929 people, or nearly one-third of the residents.

President Woodrow Wilson opened the deepwater Port of Houston in 1914, seven years after digging began. By 1930, Houston had become Texas's most populous city and Harris the most populous county
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:09 AM
 
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Quote:
So oil was discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont and that caused a boom in the Beaumont area. Why then did Houston become the 4th largest city in America and Beaumont has struggled to grow? I realize that Houston has the port but Port Arthur is closer to the Gulf.
Cities grow due to visionary city management and access to transport.

So I'd guess that when Beaumont was booming, proximity to the gulf wasn't a major factor (keeping the oil in the US vs shipping it overseas but rather proximity to a major highway and access to the major cities of the early 1900s, being Chicago and St Louis, and the east coast). Proximity to other growing TX cities in San Antonio and Dallas also helped Houston, plus as of 1910, Houston had 3X the population of Beaumont and momentum.

Finally, in my opinion, oil production (and especially back then) creates and awful environment that is not attractive to the eye or nose. So people want the money created, but don't want to be in close proximity to the tools used in creation. So Houston allowed them to be close by, but not on-site.
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:42 AM
 
8,277 posts, read 6,669,808 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Lance View Post
One of the stories I read, said that Houston got the corporate offices because that's where the executive flew too when they visited the oil fields. They would fly into Houston, then drive to the fields 90 miles away. When it came time to decide where to office, they picked the place closer to the airport than the fields. Lastly the refineries that both places are known for are much more visible and prominent in the golden Triangle than they are in Houston, those towns literally grew up around them. Houston for the most part grew away from its industrial base.
Generally, people don't want to live next to heavy industrial activity if they can help it. Houston is close enough where you can get to the fields and refineries quickly, if necessary, but you don't have to live in that environment.
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Old 08-15-2013, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
12,065 posts, read 10,756,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by War Beagle View Post
Generally, people don't want to live next to heavy industrial activity if they can help it. Houston is close enough where you can get to the fields and refineries quickly, if necessary, but you don't have to live in that environment.
So basically because the refineries were built quite a ways away from the city it allowed the city to develop without being real close to all the pollution and nasty industrial areas?

So why didn't the Golden Triangle (Beaumont/Orange/Port Arthur) put their cities a ways away. For instance, they could have put their towns further north in the Piney Woods area. Close to the oil refineries but far enough away?

It just doesn't make much sense. There's got to be more.
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Old 08-15-2013, 06:51 PM
 
77 posts, read 120,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOverdog View Post
Cities grow due to visionary city management and access to transport.

So I'd guess that when Beaumont was booming, proximity to the gulf wasn't a major factor (keeping the oil in the US vs shipping it overseas but rather proximity to a major highway and access to the major cities of the early 1900s, being Chicago and St Louis, and the east coast). Proximity to other growing TX cities in San Antonio and Dallas also helped Houston, plus as of 1910, Houston had 3X the population of Beaumont and momentum.

Finally, in my opinion, oil production (and especially back then) creates and awful environment that is not attractive to the eye or nose. So people want the money created, but don't want to be in close proximity to the tools used in creation. So Houston allowed them to be close by, but not on-site.
I agree with this and now any chance of Beaumont booming again will be lessened by its proximity to Houston.
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Old 08-15-2013, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
18,509 posts, read 29,416,175 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwreck20 View Post
I think the demise of Galveston in 1900 and subsequent 'transfer' of the port activities to Houston gave Houston a head start. This excerpt from wiki (below) makes me think that Houston has a significant head start in infrastructure that allowed it to capitalize on the economic growth of the early 20th century:
This^^^
Houston was just in a better position to grow when the boom started. Its infrastructure of roads, rail and ships allowed it a multifaceted boom.

Plus the major damage of storms seem to occur on the east side. Houston just seemed to be better protected than Beaumont for port activity.

Houston also had lots and lots of residents around it that it could annex. The Area between the Brazos and Trinity was where the original 100 settled. When Houston was founded there were already lots and lots of towns around it which Houston later annexed. Beaumont didn't have that. And in Texas the bigger you are, the more land is available to you for future annexation.

If metro areas existed back then you would see that although Houston and Beaumont were close in city pop the metro area of Houston was much bigger
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Old 08-15-2013, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Oil Capital of America
587 posts, read 849,767 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Lance View Post
Of course Houston being named after the guy who invented Texas probably helped as well.


'ventin' ain't easy.

'
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
13,643 posts, read 30,346,625 times
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Quote:
So why didn't the Golden Triangle (Beaumont/Orange/Port Arthur) put their cities a ways away. For instance, they could have put their towns further north in the Piney Woods area. Close to the oil refineries but far enough away?
They did - the city they built is called 'Houston'. The working class could not afford to live that far away and built in Pt. A. and Beaumont.
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