Orange was first settled as Greens Bluff after Sabine River boatman Resin Green first came to the area around 1830. In 1840, however, the town would change its name to Madison in honor of former President James Madison. Nevertheless, that name didn’t last long either as the postal service often confused Madison with Madisonville, also in Texas and some 170 miles west. As a result, the town was finally renamed Orange in 1858 because of the many orange groves passing boatman noticed on their way up and down the Sabine.
Lumber helped Orange thrive in the beginning with no less than 17 sawmills within the city alone. In 1918, lumber gave way to shipbuilding after the Port of Orange was dredged and Orange continued to grow both economically and in population long after it started building ships in WWI. Still, like most of the country, that all slowed down dramatically during the Great Depression.
It would be another war that would help Orange prosper once more, however. During the late 1930s and early 1940’s, WWII would have a profound effect on the city as shipyards would start building ships again and other local industries contributed to the wartime effort. Today, shipbuilding and other industries like petrochemicals, rubber, paper and plastics play a vital role in the economy of East Texas.
Stuckey’s of East Orange
They say that everything’s bigger in Texas, and if the Stuckey’s of East Orange is an indication of that, then that saying is no doubt true. That’s because here on the north corner of Texas 12 and Texas 87, you’ll not find just any Stuckey’s. No siree! Here you’ll find a Stuckey’s Supermarket where you can get hardware, groceries, fried chicken, cheeseburgers or even a Turbo Joe’s Pizza. Of course, you’ll also find plenty of Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls, Pecan Pralines and other tasty road trip snacks from Stuckey’s.
Once you’ve finished relaxing, refreshing, and refueling (take your time, we know it’s big), why not check out these things to see and do near the Stuckey’s of East Orange, Texas?
Janis Joplin’s Childhood Home / Port Arthur, TX
When their previous house burnt down, Janis Joplin and her family moved to this modest house in Port Arthur. After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High in 1960, Janis left home and eventually made her way to San Francisco, California, in 1963 where she became part of the city’s folk and counterculture movement. She also became a musician and lead singer in a group called Big Brother and the Holding Company at a time when women were dissuaded from becoming rock stars. However, she pushed on, broke down barriers and by the end of the decade, she would become a worldwide sensation.
Though she found fame and fortune as the Queen of Rock and Roll, Janis’ life was marred by alcohol and drug abuse which unfortunately ended her young life. She died of a heroin overdose in Los Angeles on October 4, 1970, at the age of 27.
You can still visit her childhood home here in Port Arthur. There’s a placard out front marking the location which tells a bit more of her story and how she paved the way for future female musicians.
Legend has it that there’s also a concrete slab in the backyard where Janis and her sister, Laura, wrote their names in wet cement. However, remember this is still a private residence, so please don’t bother the good folks that live there now, and be sure to view the house from the street.
Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center / Orange, TX
First opened to the public as an azalea garden by H. J. Lutcher Stark in 1946, the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center has certainly seen its share of problems over the years.
Nearly a decade after it first opened, a cold snap in the mid-1950s reached down to the Gulf of Mexico nearly killing everything in the gardens, After decades of restoration by the Nelda C. and H. J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, Hurricane Rita came through in 2005 and damaged many of Shangri La’s trees. When it reopened in 2008, it had to close once again due to storm damage – this time by Hurricane Ike. Still, it has all seemed to persevere over the years and is now a 252-acre park and nature center located smack dab in the middle of Orange, Texas.
Today, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is an idyllic place for plant lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. You’ll enjoy strolling through the garden’s mix of beautiful flowers, deciduous trees, a cypress tupelo swamp, a large lake, and wetlands that’s fun for the whole family. Kids will enjoy playing in the dirt at the Here We Grow! Children’s Garden, while mom and dad browse the displays in the Exhibit Hall.
For more information on how you can visit Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center on your road trip, check out their hours and admission prices here.
Stark Museum of Art / Orange, TX
Along with the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation also sponsors The Stark Museum of Art which houses one of the most important collections of American Western art in the nation.
The Western Art collection contains nearly 200 years of art produced by regional artists of the Western U.S. Here you’ll find familiar names like John James Audubon, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington, Charles Marion Russell, and Georgia O’Keeffe.
In the Decorative Arts collection, you’ll also be able to view Steuben Glass’s complete set of The United States in Crystal as well as Dorothy Doughty’s complete series of porcelain birds.
The museum’s American Indian collection includes examples of Plains clothing, body ornaments, beadwork, baskets, pottery, kachina carvings, and Navajo rugs and blankets – all created by tribe members from the Great Plains, Southwest, Eastern Woodlands, and Northwest Coast groups of Native Americans.
The letters and journals of John James Audubon, along with his first edition (and personal copy) of The Birds of America can be found in the museum’s Rare Books and Manuscripts section.
For more information on visiting the museum, visit their website here.
First Presbyterian Church / Orange, TX
From art to architecture, we next visit the impressive First Presbyterian Church of Orange, Texas. Built in 1912 as the Lutcher Memorial Church Building, the church is the epitome of classic Greek Revival architecture and is made of both granite from the quarries of central Texas and Italian marble.
Perhaps most interesting about the architecture of the church, however, is its opalescent glass dome – the only one of its kind in the U.S. Like the other stained-glass windows throughout the church, the dome’s leaded art glass was made by hand using techniques no longer found in the world.
Nevertheless, it’s likely that what church-goers back in the early part of the 20th found most interesting was the church’s air-conditioning. After all, it was the first air-conditioned building west of the Mississippi River at the time it was built.
The First Presbyterian Church of Orange is still a living church with services held every Sunday morning at 10A.M. Admission to the church is free. For other information on touring, contact the church at +1-409-883-2097 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, in a state as big as Texas, there’s plenty more to see and do around a local Stuckey’s. Visit Go! Gulf States to find yourself on your next road trip or family vacation to America’s Third Coast.
And of course, whether it’s Orange, Texas, or Apple, Ohio, no matter where you’re going, be sure to take Stuckey’s along with you. After all, is it really a road trip without taking along some of your favorite road snacks like our famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls or classic pecan pralines?
And don’t forget, whether you’re snacking at home or on the road this winter, stay comfy cozy with Stuckey’s wearables. Our hoodies and beanies will keep you feeling warm and looking cool all winter long.
Get all your favorite snacks, souvenirs and Stuckey’s branded merch now before your next big adventure – only from stuckeys.com.
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again.
Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.
For all of the pecany good treats and cool merch you’ll need for your next big road adventure, browse our online store now!
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!