PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Hundreds gathered in Port Arthur Thursday to celebrate the 125th birthday of the city.
Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie swelled with pride as 800 business owners and community members gathered at the Bob Bowers Civic Center on Thursday.
"I am honeymoon proud and peacock happy that I am the mayor of Port Arthur and i'm a resident of Port Arthur," he said.
The Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce turned its annual banquet into a night of celebration and recognition.
"I'm very proud of Port Arthur people don't understand or know about its rich heritage," said Chamber President Pat Avery.
The banquet offered guests a chance to learn about the city's background.
"Arthur Stilwell founded the city of Port Arthur and Port Arthur is named after him. He came here and started a grain business, he started the Kanas City Southern Railroad," Avery said.
Port Arthur's very own, actor G.W. Bailey came home to celebrate as the keynote speaker.
The chamber honored him with a $2,000 donation towards a lifetime membership at the Museum of the Gulf Coast.
"It feels great to be from Texas, it feels great to be from Port Arthur," Bailey said.
Port Arthur is where Bailey says he fell in love with acting.
"I was in the 9th grade, saw a production from the junior high from the high school to show us their contest play," he said.
The chamber also honored Port Arthur Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Mark Porterie.
"I'm extremely happy to be named the Arthur Stilwell recipient for 2023 it's kind of surreal," Porterie said. "I didn't do anything by myself I have a group of people that I work with a team of people that I work with that are absolutely amazing"
Other Port Arthur birthday events are planned every month for the rest of the year.