“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Port Arthur in Jefferson County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Port Arthur College

Port Arthur College Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cajun Scrambler, May 22, 2020
1. Port Arthur College Marker
John W. Gates founded Port Arthur College in 1909 as a nonprofit, non-sectarian, vocational school focusing on stenography, accounting and communications. Gates, one of the founders of the Texas Company (Texaco), envisioned a school to complement local industries. Gates proposed building a school and hospital as memorials to his mother, and asked that the city donate the required property. The city council used public park land between Procter street and Lakeshore drive for the college. Gates appointed the original trustees, including George M. Craig as first president. The college opened for classes on October 4, 1909. Gates believed the Spanish department would be especially attractive, with the opening of the Panama Canal and increased trade with Central America raising demand for bilingual secretaries and clerks.

In December 1910, the board conveyed the college to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the name was changed to Port Arthur Collegiate Institute. In succeeding years, academic, music and science classes were added to the curriculum. In 1919, the M.E. Church returned management to the board of trustees.

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By 1923, the college was a fully accredited commercial school. Communications courses that began with wireless telegraphy expanded to radio broadcasting and later a television station. During World War II, Port Arthur College trained approximately 1500 operators in communications for the U.S. Army signal corps. The college flourished and in 1975 became part of the Lamar University system, later joining the Texas State University system and changing its name in 1999 to Lamar State College-Port Arthur. The school has grown from the first class of 35 enrolled to more than 3000 students today.

Marker is property of the State of Texas
Erected 2008 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 14688.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionEducationIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical date for this entry is October 4, 1909.
Location. 29° 52.738′ N, 93° 55.622′ W. Marker is in Port Arthur, Texas, in Jefferson County. Marker is on Procter Street south of Stillwell Boulevard, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1500 Procter Street, Port Arthur TX 77640, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gates Memorial Library (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Gates Memorial Library

Port Arthur College Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jeff Leichsenring, January 20, 2023
2. Port Arthur College Marker
(a few steps from this marker); Ruby Ruth Fuller Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Arthur Edward Stilwell (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lakeshore/Lions Park (about 400 feet away); Vuylsteke House (approx. ¼ mile away); Federated Women's Clubs Of Port Arthur (approx. 0.3 miles away); Clubhouse of the Federated Women’s Clubs of Port Arthur (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Arthur.
More about this marker. Located in front of the Gates Library Building.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 23, 2024. It was originally submitted on May 31, 2020, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 207 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on May 31, 2020, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana.   2. submitted on January 23, 2024, by Jeff Leichsenring of Garland, Texas.

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Apr. 20, 2024