Destination: Beaumont, Kansas

Destination: Beaumont, Kansas

A Stay With Ghosts

Although it’s considered a ghost town today, Beaumont, located in the rolling grasslands of southeastern Kansas, was a thriving railroad and cattle town in the 19th century. The indigenous prairie bluestem grass was the nutritious fodder used to fatten up cattle before their transport by rail to eastern markets.

Railroad tracks first arrived in Beaumont in 1879, courtesy of the St. Louis, Wichita & Western Railway (aka the Frisco). The Summit Hotel was constructed in 1880 to meet the growing volume of visitors needing overnight accommodations. In 1953, Beaumont added a 2,600-foot native grass airstrip for small planes to land and then taxi to the hotel’s front door.

Fast forward to the 21st century and Beaumont is now mostly abandoned. When the trains stopped coming through, the town began a long decline. With less than 50 residents today, Beaumont is considered a ghost town. But yet, it still attracts visitors, who arrive on motorcycles, in cars, and in small airplanes. Yes, recreational pilots still use the grass airstrip, but mostly on weekends.

The modernized Beaumont Hotel (which replaced the Summit) provides daily accommodations for overnight visitors. It has a restaurant and a café that operate Friday through Sunday. The hotel is also a popular destination for the paranormal crowd, but that’s a story best told around a campfire late at night.