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Community Feature

Don’t Let the Ghost Stories Scare You Away From This Iconic Hotel

October 29, 2020

Skt News Article October 2020 Featured Image Beaumont Hotel

Photo Credit: David Gaede Sr., KTUL Channel 8 Tulsa Storm Chaser & Photographer

For most, October is a spooky, bewitching time of year filled with fun and thrills, costumes, and candy. But for the staff at a local hotel – rumor has it – Halloween is just another day living and working among the supernatural.

“You mean the ghosts?” Jeanne Squier, general manager of the 141-year-old Beaumont Hotel, asks. “Oh, we can talk about them … I’ve had quite a few experiences. I am here seven days a week, so I probably experience more than I need to.”  She explains, “Years and years ago, the general manager’s wife hooked up with one of the cowboys from the stockyards; the husband found out, hired a gunman to kill him (but not on the property), and so every now and then you’ll hear him (the cowboy) walk down the hall with his spurs.” Squier adds, “She (the wife) likes to hang out in 201 and she doesn’t like plane pictures, so every now and then they all get turned kind of sideways; you can see where she has laid in the bed, and every now and then, she’ll go through a depression where, you know, she’ll be sobbing.” Squier says they have 13 adults and one child who “haven’t crossed over.” Although she pledges, “they’re not mean or vicious,” she does say they’ve locked her out of her office and scattered her papers everywhere (if not weighted down). She’s heard the little kid running down the hall and had certain guests locked in their rooms – especially Room 201. And then there are the alarm clocks that go off at random hours (oftentimes between 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.) and are in constant need of re-setting! Squier has learned to keep close track of her keys, adding, “If I’m here by myself, I come in and I tell them, ‘Hey, I have a lot of work to do today – don’t be playing any games.’”

A Historical Gem of the Flint Hills

Branded the “Gem of the Flint Hills,” the iconic Beaumont Hotel (originally the Summit Hotel) opened in 1879 as a stagecoach, and then a railroad, rest stop. It’s located in Beaumont, Kan., about 40 minutes east of Wichita in Butler County – Kansas’ largest county, which holds eight “wonders.” The tiny town of Beaumont has two of them:  the Beaumont Hotel & Restaurant and the one-of-a-kind 1885 Frisco Water Tower, both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as the Kansas Register of Historic Places. But Beaumont also has the Frisco Retention Ponds (also listed on both registers), and the Beaumont State Bank building is listed on the Kansas Register of Historic Places! Besides all the history, Beaumont Hotel guests relish the quiet, brilliant display of stars, and the unparalleled beauty of the Flint Hills.

Drawing Travelers From Around the Globe

The summer months are the busiest for the hotel, the RV park, and the tiny house – all of which are open 365 days a year. Beginning in the 1940s, ranchers started flying in and out of Beaumont, checking on their herds of cattle. By 1962, the native grass, 2,400-foot, north/south airstrip allowed small planes to not only land, but to taxi down the street, and right into the hotel’s parking lot. Bi-plane aficionados, the Stinson Summit Group, have flown in annually on the last weekend of September for the past three years. With 10 to 20 planes arriving from all over the country, they’re already booked for next year. It’s also a very popular destination for motorcycle runs, weddings, and twice-a-year street dances. Squier laughs, “We keep pretty hoppin’.”

Room 202 – the Executive Suite, is the most popular – with four big rooms including a living room, king bedroom, huge bathroom, and sun porch/lounge area with a bar and telescope. Squier says that guests especially enjoy walking down the three steps into this south-facing room of their suite to view the stars, cattle, and the huge windmills of the Elk River Wind Project. With a total of four suites and six rooms, (one of which is ADA accessible, with a walk-in shower and outside ramp entrance), the hotel has undergone major modifications and updating including bathrooms in every room, curtains, blackout shades, and themes. There’s also a private meeting room for business retreats. It’s a very cozy guesthouse with an interesting log staircase to the second floor and period log furniture in the lobby.

The Beaumont Hotel’s Café, which is designed like a 1950s diner, and its Prairie Fire Dining Room are served by the same menu and kitchen. Open March through mid-December, their most popular item is chicken-fried steak. Squier says, “The fourth Saturday of the month is prime rib – and we always have a big crowd.” They have a chef and two cooks plus three waitresses on staff, but Squier also helps with the cooking, waitressing, and wherever help is needed, “Yeah, absolutely – I cook, I do everything here!” she exclaims. “You know, people come from so far away – we’ve had people from England, Australia, Canada – I mean, people come from all over. We’re open for Thanksgiving and Easter every year too, so we draw a huge crowd for that. People come up from Oklahoma … last weekend we had prime rib and we had karaoke. Afterwards, people sat outside around the fire ring and visited and had their hot toddies and some got up and sang and stuff. People were just amazed about how laid back everything is out here – it’s like taking a step back in time.”

The Beaumont Hotel is the only business for 16 miles in any direction. SKT is proud to be their phone and internet provider. Squier’s office has one phone and the café has the other. They maintain the Beaumont Hotel website and reservations are taken online at Internet & Wi-Fi are provided for the hotel, tiny house, and RV park guests. They are happy with their SKT services.

Story continued below photo gallery.

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Back to the Future

A lot has changed in Beaumont since the early days when cattle were driven to and from its 9,000-capacity holding pens, then shipped in and out on trains – as many as eight coming through per day. The steam engines were filled with water from the tower and there was a roundhouse housing up to six engines, turning them east or west. At the time of the 1900 census, there were 1,500 people living in Beaumont. Now there are around 40.

Squier was born and raised in Beaumont and on the family’s ranch to the south, where she currently resides. Besides being the hotel’s general manager, she’s the Vice-President of the Water Tower and President of the Beaumont Community associations. A third-generation rancher, she still enjoys a good roundup. An animal lover, she’s been teasingly accused of naming all the calves and teaching her Blue Heeler to talk. Her Dad, C. M. (Bill) Squier was inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame and received 13 World Championships at cutting. Her grandfather, J.C. Squier, operated the Beaumont Hotel for 40 years. After a long stint away, she’s been back in Beaumont and running the hotel for the past six and a half years. “It’s kind of a 360,” Squier laments, or maybe it’s like a horse running as fast as they can back to the barn ….

Plan Your Visit

If you’re interested in cowboys, railroads, or aviation, you’re sure to enjoy the Beaumont Hotel. If you’re just seeking some peace and quiet – you’ll find that too, although you might see a plane land and taxi up to your hotel … or hear the jingle of spurs. In the latter case, you might want to call the Ghost Busters on SKT’s reliable landline service.

Beaumont Hotel
11651 SE Main Street
Beaumont, KS  67012

620.843.2422 or 316.377.3085
Fax:  620.843.2462

Beaumont Restaurant/Café Hours

Friday:  8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday:  7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sunday:  7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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