Port Arthur is located in southeastern Texas in Jefferson County, not far from Beaumont. It lies on the western shore of Sabine Lake, about 17 miles above its juncture with the Gulf of Mexico. The city's chief industries are crude oil and petrochemical products, ship-building, and metal fabrication.
The area was first settled in 1835, but Port Arthur was not founded until 1895 when financier Arthur Edward Stilwell created it as the terminus of a rail route from Kansas City. The city began to grow after the discovery of oil in 1901 at the Spindletop gusher about ten miles north.