Beaumont, California

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Beaumont is a city in Riverside County, California, United States in the Greater Los Angeles area.


Contents

History

During the early 1850s, many surveying parties passed through the vicinity of present-day Beaumont in search of a pass that would connect the east to the Pacific Ocean. The San Gorgonio Pass was discovered in 1853 by a surveying expedition under Lieutenant R.S. Williamson, who was sent by the United States government. Its discovery enthralled many who now saw connecting to the ocean a feasible measure and led to plans for connecting a railway from the Missouri River to the Pacific. By the early 1860s the Southern Pacific Railroad had laid tracks through the modern-day location of Beaumont. At the summit of the pass, a site was founded and named Edgar Station after a physician from one of the original expedition parties. Edgar Station served as a rest stop for railway travellers from the Mojave Desert on their way to the Los Angeles vicinity. Soon Edgar Station changed its name to San Gorgonio, named by a real estate development company, and it gradually attracted permanent residents.

The sleepy town of San Gorgonio became an incorporated California city on November 18, 1912 and adopted its current name of Beaumont (French for "beautiful mountain"). As of 1927, the town boasted a small population of 857 with five churches, a public library, a bank, a high school, two local newspapers, several lumber yards, commercial packing houses, and a dehydrating plant. The city, one of Riverside County's largest apple growers, was dubbed "the land of the big red apple" by local residents in its early years. Apple plantations in and around the town expanded to a $200,000 industry by 1930. Beaumont saw a rise in visitors and residents as the little-known nearby city of Palm Springs to the east grew to become a highly popular resort spot in the 1930s and after; Beaumont followed suit and attempted to capitalize on the tourism by establishing guest ranches. According to an early 1930s/1940s postcard, the Highland Springs Guest Ranch of Beaumont offered its patrons horseback riding, tennis, archery, horseshoes, swimming, shuffle-board, ping pong, baseball, ballroom dancing, massage, basketball, as well as a place to spend the night.

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