Whether you fly or drive, you’ll love the Beaumont Hotel & RV Park in Beaumont, Kansas. The tiny town of 36 people is an oasis. If you’re driving, Beaumont is less than an hour from Wichita on Highway 400.
Flying in is faster. With the airstrip right next to the hotel, convenience is prime.
How to stay at the Beaumont Hotel in Kansas
The hotel offers an executive suite, king and queen rooms. Be prepared for a steep set of stairs leading to the rooms.
The café is a perfect 1950s throwback. Sit at the bar, in booths, or in the banquet room at the back of the facility.
The entire property is decorated in vintage aviation and motorcycle memorabilia. Look for the vintage phone booth. Play a game of Beaumont-style horseshoes on the lawn.
At times, the hotel offers wagon rides and campfire cookouts.
For those whose big rigs are RVs, check into Beaumont RV Park.
Things to do in Beaumont
Beaumont only covers 12 blocks, so exploring the community is easy. First, walk to the water retention ponds, called Fresnos, south of the hotel. Then look at the restored Beaumont Depot, the historic Frisco water tower, and the Twin Beech.
The lawn between the hotel and the RV park holds a unique version of horseshoes. Instead of poles, aim for cones.
Some people have encountered a hotel ghost. Legend says he’s a murdered cowboy. The ghost seems to like playing with clock radios. Room 201 is the most haunted.
The Elk River Wind Farm, eight miles south of Beaumont, is the state’s largest wind farm.
Pilots and bikers enjoy special events at the Beaumont Hotel
Roxie’s reliable recommendation: To avoid a collision, watch for the signs designating the airstrip and the road. The airstrip starts south of Highway 400 and runs along Beaumont’s east side. When it reaches the town’s south edge, the strip makes a sharp west turn onto SE 116th Terrace. After the turn, the strip is paved. Ground transportation must turn north on SE Wildgrass St. to avoid the airstrip.
The fascinating history of the Beaumont Hotel
When a stagecoach line ran between Wichita and Fredonia, the journey required more than a day. So the stage line established a stop that became Beaumont.
In 1879, Edwin and Emma Russell built the Summit Hotel. Yes, Beaumont is a summit.
The settlement sits on the divide between Otter and Little Walnut Creeks. It was the highest point from Ellsworth, Kansas, to St. Louis. Westbound trains had to climb almost 10 miles of steep grade before reaching Beaumont. Those steam engines required 5,000 gallons of water to complete the climb.
With eight trains passing through daily, Beaumont needed thousands of gallons of water daily. The railroad built a roundhouse, depot, and other structures in response to the demand.
They dug ponds to hold water and then erected a wooden water tower. It held 25,000 gallons. Holding pens confined thousands of cattle. At the station’s peak, 90 railroaders worked in Beaumont.
Passengers, cattle barons, and ranchers stayed in the Beaumont Hotel while the cowboys stayed outside. However, the boom would not last. Trucks took over cattle shipment, and feedlots fattened the cattle. By 1955, the last steam train passed through Beaumont.
The railroad hotel becomes an aviation mecca
Legend says that the first man to fly into Beaumont came in 1948. The cattle baron desired to fly in to check his cattle. The citizens blocked Main Street for his landing, and soon the word spread.
Residents learned to watch for planes while driving. Five years later, the hotel owner built a landing strip east of the hotel. A Twin Beech stands beside the runway’s end.
Five years later, Clint Squier remodeled the Beaumont Hotel in Kansas. Cattlemen visited him from Texas and he wanted to house them in the hotel.
The word spread about the fly-in hotel. Squier removed the fence between the hotel and the airstrip in 1962.
In 2001, Stephen Craig began to restore the hotel to its 1950s appearance.