Now a growing, community planned city, the population was 36,877 at the 2010 census, and was expected to be up to 125,000 projected by 2040, making Beaumont as California's next, newest fastest-growing city.
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 that connecting to the ocean was 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 travelers 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 Californian 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 orchards 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.
Since 2000, with Beaumont's close proximity to Los Angeles, various Southern California residents flocked to the San Gorgonio Pass region for its low housing cost, causing a 20% jump in the city's population, making it the fastest growing city in the state. This has concerned many local residents, who cite increasing student population in schools, rising demand on the water supply, and increasing traffic in and out of the city on Interstate 10 in both directions. A 2008 study by the Public Policy Institute of California noted that Beaumont and its surrounding communities in the San Jacinto Valley have registered the highest population growth throughout the sprawling Riverside County and the region is projected to increase by 4.5% a year to 310,000 by 2015.
Beaumont is host to many new master-planned communities. The following communities are currently under construction or have been built: Oak Valley Greens, Three Rings Ranch, Solera by Del Webb later sold to Pulte Homes Inc., Sundance and Tournament Hills by Pardee Homes, and Fairway Canyon. Excepting Oak Valley Greens, these communities operate under HOAs and are similar to developments in Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga, and even Orange County suburbs. New big box stores have recently opened up in town, including a Wal-Mart Supercenter, a Home Depot Home Improvement Center, and Kohl's Department Store in the 2nd Street Marketplace. Other new businesses in the 2nd Street Marketplace area include Best Buy, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Petco, Ross Dress for Less, Dollar Tree, Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, Chili's, McDonald's, Starbuck's, and Taco Bell. Beaumont also boasts a new Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and a Stater Bros. grocery store.
Agritourism possibilities abound in Beaumont. The apple orchards of nearby Oak Glen host apple ranches and u-pick apple orchards, educational tours, restaurants and bakeries, unique shops, a children's zoo, a spring apple blossom festival, and the fall apple harvest festival (September through November) at Riley's Apple Farm, Riley's at Los Rios Rancho, Willowbrook Apple Farm, Snow-Line Orchard, Oak Tree Village, Law's Cider Mill, Parrish Ranch, Riley's Farm, Riley's Stone Soup Farm, and Mom's Orchards.
The nearby Highland Springs Resort, established in 1884, hosts Southern California's largest certified organic lavender farm at 123 Farm, the Annual Lavender Festival in June, the Annual Sausage and Beer Festival in August, and the Annual Olive & Wine Faire in October. For 90 years, Beaumont has hosted the Annual Cherry Festival. The next Cherry Festival takes place from June 4 through 7, 2015, featuring the Cherry Festival Parade on June 6, 2015.
Local recreational possibilities include two world-class golf courses including the Tukwet Canyon and Oak Valley Golf Clubs. The Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon is nestled between the natural beauty of Beaumont’s breathtaking mountain views, offering 36 world-class holes, state of the art practice facilities, and outstanding amenities along with personalized customer service. All of the Tukwet Canyon golf carts are equipped with Visage GPS. Zagat rated the Oak Valley Golf Club as one of America's top golf courses, challenging but fair for players of all skill levels. The Oak Valley Golf Club is home to the 2nd stage PGA Tour Qualifying School and countless other golf tournaments.
Celebrating its centennial throughout 2012, Beaumont will host many events and continue to highlight important eras of its history. Some of the likely highlights will include information about high profile persons like Albert Einstein, Elvis Presley, Wyatt Earp, Gorgeous George, and Guy Bogart which have visited and played key roles in shaping this small town.