Head south from Beaumont on Highways
89/96/ 287. After passing numerous prisons and the site of Spindletop
on your right, you'll pass the Nederland
exits and come to the intersection with highway 87. Take a right and
drive until it intersects with highway 82. To the south you'll see
the easy-to-spot MLK
Bridge. Turn right here on highway 82 and this will take you into
Sabine Pass. Turning left would
take you to downtown Port Arthur.
Long before you come to Sabine
Pass, you'll start noticing torn and twisted debris with an occasional
stranded boat on the horizon. As you enter Sabine
Pass, you can see that a lot of debris has been removed - based
on the numerous bare foundations and empty posts that once held signs.
The Sabine Cemetery is just
to the west of the town's main intersection while the battleground
is several miles south. To get to the battleground park, at
the intersection go right on 3322. This road follows the Sabine
River estuary and is plied by ships entering Port
Arthur, the gas terminals and refineries or the Neches River which
passes alongside downtown Beaumont.
|A view of the
Sabine River estuary at the edge of the battlefield.
TE photo, July 2003
are restored and refurbished just outside the park boundaries. The
foreground is the park itself - surrounded by orange construction-site
fencing. As of March 2007 the boat ramp was accessible.
TE Photo March 2007
boat ramp and parking lot is open although most of the visitor's area
Dowling's statue) is currently surrounded by ugly flexible orange
construction fencing. The status of the once-numerous historical markers
is not known. The thing least affected by the storm is the grouping
of WWII era
through the guano! A clean-shaven version of Dick Dowling photographed
TE Photo 2003
|The statue and
pedestal inscribed with the names of Dowling's command. (Dowling's
niece once stated that this was her favorite statue of her uncle.
She said that she always hated the mustache on the Dowling
statue in Houston's Herman Park.
TE photo, 2003
- In Sabine Pass Battleground
As tension mounted
between the United States and Spain during the late 1890s, U. S. Representative
Samuel Bronson Cooper of Texas recommended the War Department begin
plans for the defense of the strategic Sabine
Pass area. Maj. James B. Quinn of the Army Corps of Engineers
in New Orleans, was authorized to direct construction of two forts
on land granted by Augustus F. Kountze. Work on the batteries was
under way by May 1898, one month after the formal war declaration.
Military efforts were coordinated with area residents by government
engineer J. L. Brownlee.
Although the emplacements were soon completed, the shore guns were
never part of military action here. The Spanish-American
War ended December 10, 1898, with the signing of the Treaty of
Later efforts were made to locate permanently a military installation
at the site following the war. The plans were dropped, however, by
1901. In 1913, fifteen years after the war, the fortifications were
the site of a tragic accident, in which a Sabine boy was killed when
an abandoned ammunition cache exploded. Evidence of the fortifications
has been severely damaged by hurricanes, but the site remains a symbol
of an important era in U. S. history.
|One of the shrimp
boats on the way to the battlefield.
TE photo, March 2007
| The road south
from the battlefield is an unpaved road that eventually reaches the
site of Sabine City,
which existed only to the Civil War. The town then moved inland creating
Sabine Pass. This road passes
a Coast Guard station and several shrimpboats which have been raised
but are not yet seaworthy.
The decommissioned Sabine Pass Lighthouse (below) is visible across
the marshes on the Louisiana side. The faded paint and weathered cement
give it a watercolor effect even when viewed in full sun.
Sabine Pass Lighthouse
TE photo, March 2007
The Old Sabine
Pass Lighthouse is included in this oil painting that now hangs
in Port Arthur's Museum of
the Gulf Coast
TE Photo 2003
Battleground State Historic Site Information
Sabine Pass Battleground
State Historic Site is a Texas Historical Commission property
Hours Open: Daily, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve
and New Year’s Day
Admission Fees - Free
First published March 2007
Updated August 2010