Covering a downtown area may be a little off topic, but there are several lost retail stories from every downtown area in the United States. Port Arthur Texas is a city of around 50,000 people that has seen better days. The downtown area was flourishing in the 1950's through the 1960's and dropped off significantly leaving the area mostly abandoned and blighted. Downtown had several restaurants, offices, and retail stores that lined Proctor and the surrounding streets. Most of the retail of Port Arthur is located on Gulfway or towards Nederland with the Central Mall anchoring the area retail. What happened to the businesses here in Port Arthur is not documented well on the internet, but the nearby industries seems to be one of the causes. I would like to see some of these projects to redevelop downtown take off and bring this area back to life.
We start our tour of downtown Port Arthur at the tallest building that still stands; the Sabine Hotel. There was also a taller downtown hotel that was demolished in the 1980's named the goodhue hotel. The Sabine Hotel is slated for redevelopment, but it will take a really committed developer to pull this off. Many windows are broken and the hotel has been exposed to the elements for many years and several hurricanes. If this building can be fixed up; it will make downtown much more attractive. Also of note six downtown buildings that are pictured here have been slated for demolition.
You can buy this building as of 9/1/2011 for a mere $275,000 or less.
This was once a Kress department store and you can see the logo in the middle of the building near the top. Kress is a department store chain that had a store in downtown New Orleans also. Not much has been documented from Kress since it was a smaller retail chain that did not last.
This view of Proctor street through the heart of downtown shows the lack of people on this weekday afternoon.