A stagecoach stop between Fredonia and Wichita, the community of Beaumont – on U.S. 400 at the Greenwood-Butler county line - was established as a railroad town in 1885 with the arrival of the St. Louis and San Francisco (Frisco) Railroad. An east-west rail line connected St. Louis with Wichita, and a spur route went south to Oklahoma.
The Frisco soon constructed a 50,000-gallon wooden water tower to service the seven trains stopping at Beaumont each day. Beaumont became an overhaul station and major cattle shipping point in the region, complete with a roundhouse, depot and offices. At one time the town also boasted the largest stockyards to have electric lighting, water and scales between Wichita and Springfield, Mo.
By 1950, trucks had taken over the shipping of cattle. Five years later Beaumont bid farewell to its last steam passenger train. Only the Frisco’s wooden water tower remains standing down the street from the Beaumont Café and Hotel.
And the water tower is a landmark for those who travel to Beaumont by motor vehicle and also in small airplanes. Planes are frequently spotted taxiing onto the grass airstrip next to the restaurant. Pilots and passengers disembark to dine at the cafe and perhaps stay the night at the hotel, savoring the town’s history and surrounding Flint Hills vistas.