February 13, 2007


As with any of these "small town" posts, this is by no means a complete representation of what Beaumont has to offer. I tend to focus on the physical remnants (neon signs, buildings, ghost signs, etc.) of the 1960s and earlier. I have no doubt there are many things I didn't get to while I was there. There were a couple of things which I wanted to get pictures of, but I was afraid of disturbing the winos hobos bums vagrants homeless people. I will go back, and hopefully it will be on a sunny day!

Beaumont, Texas is the Jefferson County Seat, located near the Texas Gulf Coast. It is 28 miles from the Louisiana state lane, 85 miles E of Houston, and 17 miles NW of Port Arthur.

Pig Stand #41 - world's first drive-ins?

World's (3rd) Largest Fire Hydrant (Texas Firefighters Memorial)

??? Building (left) and San Jacinto Building, with Crockett Street entrance in foreground

San Jacinto Building (Beaumont's tallest)

looking down Fanin Street, a view of a distant era

Jefferson Theatre

"Lasting Impressions Printing"

470 Orleans Building

the 1939 First National Bank Building - one corner of what is called The Kyle Block (one of the best examples of Zig Zag architecture in Texas)

The New Rosemont Hotel - "$1.00 & UP" (I'm not sure as to the origin of the Haunted Hotel sign)

the sign in 2002 (pre-Rita pic from TexasEscapes.com)

the Beaumont House? the Callahan Hotel? the Crosby House?

First City Building - whenever I see buildings that look like this one, I half expect Ann Marie or Mary Richards to come skipping out of the entrance. I dunno. It's one of those odd mental, engrained pop-cultural synapse connections.

Calder Cleaners - still open


Becca said...

This mite my my personal favorite set of pictures from a small town. You find the neatest stuff to capture on film!

Chris said...

Thanks, becca! That's nice of you to say. Although, I feel like I just scratched the surface with Beaumont.

Dorothy said...

All right! Beaumont, my home town! I can't believe that "Look Look" glasses sign is still up--and I presume it's still an adult theater? My dad and I lived in a penthouse suite in the old King Edward Hotel (demolished mid-'90's) when I was a toddler and my dad said I crawled on the red felt pool tables in the hotel bar while Johnny Winters played. That Crosby House building used to host an incredible thrift store where I got a kick-ass leather pistol holster and a complete set of Planet of the Apes (original movie) dolls. Yes, yes, go back to Beaumont! It's one of those great towns where they had a lot of money to build cool stuff, then went broke and didn't have enough money to tear it down, so it just sat there, waiting for you to show up to photograph.

Gee, I miss Texas.

Chris said...

dorothy, I had no idea that was an adult theater! And you say that building is Crosby House? Thanks for the info. I'm glad these pictures rekindled some pleasant, Texas, childhood memories!

I will go back!

Anonymous said...

I always loved the First City Bank Building on Orleans because the precast latice work looked like whipped cream puffs to me as a child. The architect was the late Llewellyn W. Pitts. There is an annual architectural award given in honor of him every year by The Texas Architectural Society. The lattice design was actually a device to reduce heat coming into the building and reduce cooling cost.

TicketBastard said...

The "Haunted Hotel" sign is from a haunted house attraction that ran out of that location in the late 80's and early 90's. Back then, it was truly a frightful place. Everything was run right on the ragged edge of legal liability by east Texas rednecks who didn't have much to lose and knew the corporation was going to fold up shop on November 1 anyway.

They used real chainsaws (with blades the first few years) and sharp knives among other things. They weren't afraid to touch you and grab you and push you around. It was not uncommon for people to get minor cuts and major bruises on the way out. I wasn't actually allowed to go the first few years but managed to go anyway. I never got injured, but someone in my party always managed to come out with some minor injury.

It had a very nasty reputation that was well deserved and well earned. I hear they're still in operation at a different location, but really, it was never the same after the first few years of absolute recklessness.

Diana Thornton said...

You have just scratched the surface. I have been driving around town photographing interesting places for waymarking and there's much more out there.

Cherilyn Hannen said...

hi Chris remember me?????!!!..it's Cherilyn a fan of the Look-Look I posted comments on your pictures on Flickr remember????!!!!...I finally found the cat's-eye glasses the Look-Look was shaped liked wish you could see me in them I look cool...found more pictures of the sign...a girl named Katey Aeger posted a picture of it on Flickr...if you remember I live in Beaumont so before the sign was taken down I saw it when I was downtown... downtown's weird without it...if you want to write me my e-mail address is cherilynhannen@yahoo.com

Carreen Weaver said...

That building labeled "Crosby" is not the Crosby House Hotel; it's the Nathan Building (a former department store). The Crosby was torn down years ago and remains an empty lot.

Carreen Weaver said...

Also the building to the left of the San Jacinto is the Goodhue building.