A.P. Beutel

Dr. Beutel, or "Dutch" as some people knew him, originally came to the Freeport area in 1940 to oversee the construction of a plant for the Dow Chemical Company. 

 

The plant would extract bromine and magnesium from seawater. Bromine was an essential ingredient in a product manufactured by Dow. It effectively reduced the knocking in automobile engines. Magnesium was in high demand at that time due to the outbreak of WWII. It was used to make flares, incendiaries and aircraft.

Beutel was known as a man who could get things done and done quickly. Within ten months, the new magnesium plant on the Texas Gulf Coast was up and running. In addition to fulfilling domestic needs, the plant supplied this lightweight metal called magnesium to Britain for use in its effort against Germany's Luftwaffe.  

Beutel became the first general manager of Dow's Texas Division, located in Freeport. Faced with a housing shortage for his plant workers, Beutel decided to build a new town.

 

He engaged the services of an architect named Alden B. Dow, the younger brother of Dow's president. Together on horseback they canvassed acreage once a sugar plantation, land covered in thickets and crawling with snakes. They mapped out streets, and Lake Jackson was born.

Not only was Dr. Beutel an industrial magnate, but he was also a friend to local youth. He raised cattle in Lake Jackson, and from time to time would give some of his calves to 4-H students for them to show in the County Fair. He was also supportive of the Boy Scout program. Its local council presented Dr. Beutel with the Silver Beaver Award for his distinguished service.

 

Dr. Beutel died in Freeport in 1972, two weeks after his 80th birthday.