Saratoga is an unincorporated community in Hardin County, Texas, United States. It is located thirty-eight miles northwest of Beaumont. The zip code is 77585.
Saratoga is part of the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The original name for this community was New Sour Lake. The first significant landmark discovery of this area was the sulfur-smelling spring by J. F. Cotton in the 1850s. As late as 1865 he tried to establish an oil well on the site, but failed due to inadequate machinery. In the 1880’s a man named P. S. Watts wanted to profit from the spring using the unique “medicinal” properties of the water (a popular trend at the time). To draw would-be visitors to the site, Watts changed the name of the site to Saratoga to replicate the famous resort at Saratoga Springs, New York. He built a hotel and rental cottages for potential customers, but only a few came.
Years later, with the success of the Lucas Gusher within Spindletop at Beaumont, the first profitable wells would be drilled at Saratoga. In 1904 an extension of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway would be built from Saratoga to Bragg Station. The railroad also created the business opportunity to profit from the lumber industry. The town’s population would fluctuate from 1000 in 1925 down to 350 in the early 1950’s and back to over 1000 in recent years. Although the Saratoga trunk line running north from the town was dismantled in 1934, new oil wells have been drilled as recently as the early 1980’s.
There were oil wells drilled in Saratoga into the early 1990s also.
Saratoga is served by the West Hardin County Consolidated Independent School District.
- Saratoga is the birth place of country music icon George Jones.
- Just north of town is a ghost light of an undetermined nature.
- At the southern edge of Saratoga is a large salt water marsh, created during the oil boom days of the town. Salt water was pumped from the many wells drilled around the town into this wide expanse and made desolate. Flint arrowheads and spearheads can still be discovered around the marsh from an ancient Indian population that once lived there.
- On June 30, 1939, Hardin County Deputy James Reddick, assigned to keep the peace in Saratoga, was gunned down by ambush with two blasts from a .12 gauge shotgun while inside a cafe' he owned called The White Kitchen. A 23 year old man named E.B. Means was arrested for the crime, after allegedly threatening to kill the deputy in front of several witnesses only an hour earlier. Mr. Means was released on bond six days after his arrest. The case garnered much local attention and was covered by the Beaumont Journal, the Beaumont Enterprise and the Houston Chronicle. A grand jury indicted Mr. Means for capital murder of a law enforcement officer, but on September 8, 1941, the case was dismissed without going to trial. Reasons given for dismissal were the inability to gather material witnesses and lack of sufficient evidence to gain a conviction. E.B. Means died in 2002, and the case remains unresolved. A fictional account of the murder, entitled The Keeper's Dare, is based on the actual events that took place.
Coordinates: 30°17′03″N 94°31′46″W / 30.28417°N 94.52944°W