Now a growing, community planned city, the population was 36,877 at the 2010 census, and 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 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.
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. 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, Staples, Best Buy, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Petco, Ross and two grocery stores Albertson's and Stater Bros. located across the street in the Sun Lakes Shopping Center (formerly K-Mart was the anchor store) in nearby Banning.
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.