Casey is an experienced traveler who has spent numerous years of her life visiting unique places in her VW bus with her family.
The Beaumont Fire Hydrant: A World Record
It's always fascinating to research the history behind the roadside attractions in the United States. My favorite roadside attractions are ones claiming to be the world's largest something or other. There are many "world's largest" attractions that can be found throughout the United States in a variety of shapes and sizes. Popular in attracting tourists, these structures are fun to see and have interesting histories behind them to explain why they were built.
My all-time favorite is the "world's largest working fire hydrant" located in beautiful Beaumont, Texas. Several years ago, my husband and I traveled to Beaumont to have an adventure finding this attraction. I have loved the movie 101 Dalmatians since I was four-years-old, and Beaumont's largest fire hydrant was built in its honor. When I discovered a roadside attraction existed honoring my favorite movie, it became a must-see destination.
It was extremely easy to find the world's largest working fire hydrant driving through the city of Beaumont. Driving up the street, the beautiful white and black spots were bright and colorful among the brick buildings surrounding it. It was such a fun thing to see in what could be considered a dull part of town with plain brick buildings.
Once we parked our car and ventured out towards the fire hydrant, I realized how the area was designed to appear cheerful and colorful. The hydrant was surrounded by lush, green grass, small trees, a gazebo, and statues honoring firefighters of the past. The grass and shrubs along the sidewalk were perfectly tended. The gazebo offered some shelter from the bright afternoon sun and heat.
It was only when we stood right next to the fire hydrant that we realized how tall it truly was. I felt very small next to it. It was a neat experience standing next to it and glancing up towards the top.
A History Lesson
This fire hydrant was originally built purely for promotional purposes. In 1999, Disney re-released the animated version of 101 Dalmatians. To promote the movie, they decided to construct a record-breaking fire hydrant in terms of size and ability to work like regular-sized hydrants.
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The fire hydrant was originally constructed at Disneyland in its California location to celebrate and promote 101 Dalmatians. It was painted white with black spots like a dalmatian's coat. After a while, Disney decided to find a new and permanent home for their creation. They chose Beaumont, Texas, to be its new home and placed it across the street from Beaumont's official Fire Museum of Texas.
When the fire hydrant was built in 1999, it was the largest one in the world. Apparently, others dreamed of beating this record and two other recording-breaking hydrants were constructed that beat Beaumont's hydrant in terms of size. But the hydrant in Texas is the only one that actually works and functions like a regular fire hydrant.
When visiting this wonder, it's very easy to find with the bright white and black colors standing out surrounded by brick buildings. It is near the more historic section of Beaumont, which has local businesses and historical buildings. In the spring and summer, it is a cheerful looking place to visit with the lovely grass yard, decorative bushes, and beautiful fire station nearby.
A Tribute to Firefighters
The area surrounding the fire hydrant has been designed as a tribute to firefighters. Those who are retired, deceased, or fallen are honored here. When the hydrant was first constructed, the area around it wasn't as pretty. Over time, the museum caring for the hydrant has tended to the surrounding area to beautify it as a tribute to all firefighters.
The museum contains firefighting artifacts from the 1920s. Vintage fire fighting trucks, tools, pictures, and more can be found in the museum so visitors can learn about the history of the building and the subject of firefighting in general. It is a popular place for local schools to take students for field trips. Even though the world's largest working fire hydrant is a neat sight to see, the museum serves to educate visitors with fascinating history as an added bonus.
The Perfect Road Trip
If you ever get to Beaumont, I highly recommend stopping by the museum and fire hydrant. It's a unique experience and completely free! The museum doesn't charge admission, but you are welcome to leave a donation to help support the services the museum offers. I really loved my trip here and learned some fascinating history while on a quick road trip.
- Beaumont's Giant Fire Hydrant, Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau
- World's Largest Working Fire Hydrant, Roadside America
© 2020 Casey White