The Rainbow Bridge (see header photo)
Texas State Historical Association
September 8th, 1938 -- Port Arthur and Orange County connected by bridge
On this day in 1938, the bridge over the Neches River connecting Port Arthur and Orange County was dedicated, replacing the Dryden Ferry.
As a result of a contest in 1957 it became known as the "Rainbow Bridge." The bridge was financed by the county, state, and federal governments
under the Public Works Administration at a cost of $2,750,000. Beaumont representatives opposed the bridge until a compromise of 176 feet clearance
was reached. The clearance was to allow the tallest ship afloat at the time (the Navy dirigible tender USS Patoka) to pass and reach Beaumont's upstream
dock. This made the bridge the most elevated highway bridge over tidal waters in the world and the largest bridge built by the Texas Highway Department.
No ship ever came close to hitting the bottom of the bridge.
Winner of Golden Gloves and Amateur Athletic Union titles
Boxer Paul Jorgensen was born in Tallulah, Louisiana, but lived in Port Arthur "his whole life." He graduated
from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1952.
As an amateur boxer from 1950 to 1953, he had three managers, including Dick Menchaca. He won Golden Gloves and Amateur Athletic Union titles during that time.
Jorgensen turned professional in 1953 while attending the University of Houston. He made his professional debut on April 28, 1953, with a four-round points
win against Baby Valdez in Houston, Texas. Jorgensen won his first 16 fights, including a win against Eddie Bertolino on June 1, 1954. It was in the rematch
against Bertolino on September 28, 1954, that Jorgensen suffered his first loss.
The founder of the Texas School of Professional Photography, written by Cynthia Marshall Devlin
Cricchio, Frank Edward (1933–2021)
Frank Edward Cricchio, world-renowned Texas photographer, was born on October 18, 1933, in Port Arthur, Texas,
to parents Joe Cricchio and Annette (Campise) Cricchio. Cricchio’s grandfather, Francesco “Frank” Cricchio, came to America from Palermo,
Sicily, Italy, in 1904 to the port of New Orleans and later settled in Port Arthur where he worked for Texaco. His grandson’s passion for
photography commenced at the age of eleven, and his serious studies began at age fourteen. The family saved money to buy his first
professional camera. The 1950 federal census listed Cricchio’s father as the owner of a grocery, where young Frank worked as a
delivery boy. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur in 1952. In 1953 and 1954 he attended the University
of Texas at Austin, where he served as a photographer in the Air Force ROTC, but he returned to the area of his home to study at
Lamar State College of Technology (presently Lamar University) in Beaumont. He married Marie Ann Jennusa on October 30, 1955, and
eventually they had five children. Cricchio graduated with a B.B.A. in business statistics from Lamar State College in 1957.
After a brief time working for Watkins Studio, he joined Sears Roebuck and Company and prepared layouts and statistical projections
before he opened his first studio in 1958.