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SealCity of Beaumont, CA
550 East 6th Street
Beaumont, CA 92223
Stewart Family History

Rez Stewart and Wagon (Small).jpg

The civic pioneer behind Stewart Park

The city of Beaumont and local historians have long paid tribute to Reznor Perry Stewart, whose love for the Pass and his many contributions helped Beaumont to grow and prosper.

In 1878, Stewart arrived from Placerville, CA with a few horses, built a barn and began plowing land in the Pass, according to the 1938 book, History of Banning and the San Gorgonio Pass, by Tom Hughes. Stewart’s entrepreneurial streak pushed him to homestead land and buy 1,800 acres to grow grain and raise hogs. And during his life, Stewart rubbed shoulders with real-life characters from the Wild West, including Kit Carson and Buffalo Bill. He also met George Donner, one of the few surviving members of the ill-fated Donner Party. They were a group of American pioneers who set out for California in the 1840s and became snowbound in the Sierra Nevadas, where many of them perished. Stewart was also one of the founders of the Bank of Beaumont. In 1940, his daughters Clara and Laura May built a new post office for Beaumont at Fifth Street and Egan Avenue, and in 1961 he donated land for the Stewart Sunnyslope Cemetery.

Through a trust established by his late daughter, Laura May Stewart, Reznor Perry Stewart’s considerable wealth has supported worthy local charitable causes with $2.75 million during the past 35 years, according to the trust’s program manager Marilyn Vonderheide. Laura May Stewart died in 1974 at the age of 89. To honor the philanthropist, Beaumont declared thereafter that the first Sunday in September as “Laura May Stewart Day.”