People from the area

Jimmy Johnson
Janis Joplin
Bum Phillips

J. P. (The Big Bopper) Richardson

Tex Ritter

Johnny & Edgar Winter
Lee Hazlewood

Karen Silkwood

Mildred "Babe" Diedrikson Zaharias

Bubba Smith
G. W. Bailey

George Jones

Cookie and the Cupcakes

Gordon Baxter
(Old Bax

Tracy Byrd 

Harry James
"Moon" Mullican
Robert Rauschenberg
John "Bet-A-Million" Gates
Arthur Stllwell


Photos of Port Arthur

The Spirit of Sabine Pass Newsletter









































































Playing at recess on the Tyrrell Elementary School playground with Karen Crumpler, Karen Sue Hetherwick, Irene Valdez, Donna Long, Dorothy Belisky...Janis Joplin.  Does anyone know where these people are? I lost track of most of my "early years" classmates. Janis' death was a monumental loss to all who knew her and loved her music.

Being taken to Mr. Spradley's (the principal) office with five of my friends because we decided we didn't want recess to end and we refused to go back to class...second grade, or was it the third?

Dancing for hours on end at the Beehive or at the Pleasure Pier Ball Room...listening to greats like Fats Domino and "upstarts" like Little Richard...Johnny and Edgar Winters...Janis...! Does anyone know what happened to the Beehive?

Riding the old wooden roller coaster at the Pleasure Pier.

Driving through the refineries on the way to Sabine Pass. The original Texas Co. (later Texaco, now Star Enterprises) and Gulf Oil (now Clark) oil companies sit across the street from each other in Port Arthur. They were founded shortly after the first oil "gusher," Spindletop, came in. The term "gusher" was coined at Spindletop!

Listening to my favorite disc jockey, Gordon Baxter! I was listening the day he caught alot of flack for playing "I Didn't Know The Gun Was Loaded" for all the pregnant women in Port Arthur! Can you believe that offended some people? Must have been the era! Gordon Baxter would also fly into the "eye" of any hurricane heading toward the Gulf Coast and report the findings! He was one of the first pilots I had heard of who would do this.

Watching Cowboy John, a local children's television show, one morning when all the kids started giggling...Cowboy John went up to one of the little girls and said, "What are you laughing at?" The little girl, still giggling, said, "Leroy farted." Cowboy John, embarrassed and caught off guard, quickly turned to the next child in the line-up and said, "What's your name?" The little boy looked up at Cowboy John and said, "Leroy!" This show was live and that night on national television, Chet Huntley ended his news program by saying, "And goodnight, Leroy, in Port Arthur!"

Parties and luncheons at Rose Hill on Lake Shore Drive. R. H. Woodworth and his bride, Mary, hired J. H. Baxter of the Griffing Lumber Company to construct this classical revival mansion in 1906. Mr. Woodworth was an independent real estate dealer. Later he entered the banking business and served as Port Arthur's third mayor in 1902. Rose Hill was presented to Port Arthur in 1947 by Phebe Woodworth in accordance with her mother's wishes.

In the early 1900s, the owner of Pompeian Villa, a beautiful home on Lake Shore Drive, traded the estate for 10% of the stock in the Texas Company. Pompeian Villa is now a museum.

Camp Waluta! (did I spell that right?)

Petticoats...many, many, many...all worn at once! Our skirts stood straight out.

The excitement of watching black and white television "all night long" while waiting for Hurricane Audrey to hit us the following morning! In those days television was on the air from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. Having it available all night long was a treat! Audrey turned in the night and annihilated Cameron, Louisiana, a town across the lake (Sabine) from us. This event has been reported as one of the country's Great Disasters.

Watching ships move down the canal along Lakeshore Drive on their way to offload cargo; and seeing huge sections of various oil rigs enroute to their designated drilling spots in the Gulf of Mexico.

Miles of giant Oleander bushes in full bloom creating a wall down Lakeshore Drive. The Oleander's were white and pink...five of each alternating...forming this beautiful living wall.

Watching JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson D.J. at KPAC radio station on Proctor Street. My cousin, Jack Yeager, took me to see to him.

Dick Dowling Park in Sabine Pass.

Refinery explosions!

Crabbin' at Pleasure Pier Island.

Shrimp boats...all the fried shrimp you could ever eat! Unquestionably the "Best Fried Shrimp" in the world. Crawfish...gumbo!

The Village Theater's roof caved in one night after a heavy rain. The film playing at the time and featured on the Marquee in front of the theater...THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING.

Refineries! At night, with all their lights, they look like huge cities! Of course, you can smell them for miles and miles. When the wind blows just right, however, the smell from the paper mill in Evadale will make you wish the smell of the refineries would return.

Making the Drag...down Proctor Street...on Sunday! What a parade of cars!

Hanging out at Drake's Drive-In...before and after it relocated! Those were happy days, the days of carhops...great music!

Old Sarah Jane's Road...this is the place we would go late at night and talk about the legend of Sarah Jane and her family's tragic deaths...we spent hours there telling ghost stories and scaring ourselves to death.

McFadden's Beach...and tar all over us...

Riding the ferry boats to Galveston.

Candy Kane Lane...neighborhood Christmas Decorating was primo!

Halloween: Every year the Riggles (of Riggle & Pittman) served all the neighborhood kids grilled hot dogs, another neighbor handed out sodas, and Mr. Korf gave us a single-scoop ice cream cone...then with dinner out of the way, we were off trick-or-treating!

The CavOILcade Parade...still happening? Their slogan: We Oil The World!

The beautiful homes along Lakeshore Drive...Gates Memorial Library...Woodrow Wilson Junior High School...all magnificant architecture!

The Yellow Jackets...Indians...Bulldogs...Bumblebees....some great football! Port Arthur, and surrounding area, produced some great athletes..."Babe" Zaharias, Jimmy Johnson, Bum Phillips, Charles "Bubba" Smith, to name a few.

Steve McQueen, in his younger years, long before stardom, worked in a local brothel in Port Arthur as an errand boy.

The mothball fleet in Orange.


. . . more HISTORY . . . and interesting area links
Port Arthur, Texas

Send comments and questions to
Copyright 1996-09 by Sherry Thorup. All rights reserved.