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within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Located in Southeast Texas on the Neches River about 90 mi (140 km) east of Houston (city center to city center), Beaumont had a population of 118,296 at the time of the 2010 census, making it the twenty-fourth-most populous city in the state of Texas. The early European-American settlement had an economy based on the development of lumber, farming, and port industries.
Spindletop became the first major oil field and one of the largest in American history.
With the discovery of oil at Spindletop, Beaumont's population more than tripled in two months from 9,000 in January 1901 to 30,000 in March 1901.
Oil is, and has always been, a major export of the city, and a major contributor to the national GDP. C.", was a leading businessman and oil tycoon in the city in the early 20th century, developing businesses during the Texas Oil Boom.
An entrepreneur from Pennsylvania and Iowa, he arrived after the gusher at Spindletop, and invested in development of a commercial port in the city, and an irrigation system to support the local rice industry, as well as residential and retail development of suburban property. He purchased and donated First Baptist Church, whose congregation had moved to a new facility, to use as the city's first public library, now known as the Tyrrell Historical Library.
When the city became a major center for defense shipbuilding during World War II, tens of thousands of rural Texans migrated there for the new high-paying jobs.
The Roosevelt administration ordered the defense industry to be integrated, and many Southern whites were working closely with blacks for the first time.
With Spindletop, several energy companies developed in Beaumont, and some continue.
The area rapidly developed as 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 Texas Gulf Coast.
Recently, there has been some renewal in Downtown Beaumont and in other areas of the city.
In 1996, the Jefferson County courts, located in Beaumont, became the first court in the nation to implement electronic filing and service of court documents.