Beaumont is a city in and county seat of Jefferson County, Texas, United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city’s population was 118,296 at the 2010 census making it the twenty-fourth most populous city in the state of Texas. Beaumont’s early history was centered around the lumber, farming, and port industries. A big change occurred in 1901 with the Spindletop gusher. The area transformed into one of the major petro-chemical refining areas in the country. Along with Port Arthur and Orange, Beaumont forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the Gulf Coast. Beaumont is home of Lamar University, a national Carnegie Doctoral Research university with 15,000 students. Over the years, several corporations called Beaumont home. For example, Gulf States Utilities had its headquarters in Beaumont until its absorption by Entergy Corporation in 1993. GSU’s Edison Plaza headquarters is still the tallest building in Beaumont (as of 2011). With Spindletop, several current energy companies were spawned in Beaumont.
The Beaumont Commercial District is located in Downtown Beaumont, Texas. The district consists of various styles of buildings, including 6 highrises built before 1932. The district is registered on the National Register of Historic Places as a U.S. Historic District. The historic district is roughly bounded by Willow, Neches, Gilbert and Main Streets. The Old Spanish Trail (U.S. Route 90) travels through Downtown on Willow, Park, Pearl and College Streets.
Downtown Beaumont is the center of Business, Government and night time entertainment in southeast Texas. Downtown features the Crockett Street Entertainment Complex with entertainment options from dancing, to live music to dining or a bar. In addition to the night time entertainment downtown also features a museum district with four distinct museums.
Since 1907, Beaumont has been home of the South Texas State Fair. The South Texas State Fair and Rodeo is held at Beaumont’s Ford Park during March. It is the 2nd largest fair in the state with over 500,000 visitors in 2009. The fair features a livestock show, a commercial exhibition, a carnival midway and numerous food choices. The Fair moved from the Fair Park Coliseum to Ford Park in 2004, a new, larger facility on the west end of Beaumont.. The fair was previously held in the fall but had to be moved to spring after hurricanes Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008 caused its cancellation. YMBL Championship Rodeo is held at Ford Park during the South Texas State Fair. The rodeo is an annual event and is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Admission to the rodeo is included in fair admission.