Beaumont was a small center for cattle raisers and farmers in its early years.With an active riverport by the 1880s, it became an important lumber and rice-milling town. The Beaumont Rice Mill, founded in 1892 by Joseph Eloi Broussard, was the first commercially successful rice mill in Texas.
Ultimately the white mob rioted for three days, destroying major black neighborhoods and killing five persons. The riot in Beaumont was one of several in 1943 which centered in the defense industry, including Los Angeles, as well as other cities across the country.
The wartime social disruption was similar to war time riots which had occurred in other parts of the country during and following World War I.
Mandatory evacuations were issued in advance of both storms.
In August 2017, Beaumont and surrounding areas experienced severe flooding as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
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.
In 1892, Joseph Eloi Broussard opened the first commercially successful rice mill in the state, stimulating development of rice farming in the area; he also started an irrigation company (since 1933 established as the Lower Neches Valley Authority) to support rice culture.
Rice became an important commodity crop in Texas, and is now cultivated in 23 counties.
GSU's Edison Plaza headquarters is still the tallest building in Beaumont (as of 2017).