Firsts in San Bernardino

1908 - First (and last)

Festival of the Arrowhead

Street Fair (May 19-23).

Click here for more Firsts.



Saturdays 10 AM - 3 PM

FREE Admission

FREE Parking

FREE Tours

1170 W. Third Street
San Bernardino, CA 92410

Map & Directions

San Bernardino
Historical &
Pioneer Society

P.O. Box 875
San Bernardino, CA 92402


(909) 888-3634 


Depot & Museum Tour

July 01, 2015

Tours will  be conducted

on  the  first Wednesday of

each month at 10:00 am.

Call (909)  888-3634  for

a reservation.  FREE


Group Tours

For a Group Tour on

Saturday or any other 

day call (909) 888-3634.


Virtual Museum Tour

Click here for visual tour

of the museum.


Photo Histories

Click here to view local San

Bernardino and railroad

photographic histories.


Newsletters of the

Western Archives of

the Santa Fe Railway

Click here for Newsletters 

of the Santa Fe Railway

Historical and Modeling

Society (Western Archives).


Norton AFB Museum

Now Open:

Thursday 10:00 to 2:00

Saturday  10:00 to 2:00



Next Meeting at Coco's

The next meeting of the

National Association of

Retired & Veteran Railway

Employees will be held

at Coco's Restaurant.





Upcoming Events:

The Museum is open Saturday from 10:00 to 3:00  (Virtual Museum Tour)

Jul 15, 2015 - SANBAG Tour

Jul 25, 2015 - Roundhouse Gang Model Railroad Club - Swap Meet

Nov 7-8, 2015 - Free-Mo HO Model Railroaders


July 4, 1842 - First U.S. Flag in San Bernardino


In 1842 a United States flag of this design was flown over San Bernardino for the first time.  At the time there were only 26 states in the Union, while California was governed by Mexico.  It was not until September 9, 1850, that California became the 31st state.

    The First Fourth of July Celebration

in San Bernardino

    Daniel Sexton had arrived in Old San Bernardino in      December of 1841, and went to work in the mountains  above Cherry Valley cutting timber for Isaac Williams of  the  Chino Rancho and others.  Cahuilla Indians furnished  the  labor for the operation at a wage of 25 cents per  day.  Sexton made friends with the Indians and gained  much  influence with them, eventually marrying the niece  of  Chief  Solano.  In 1842 they asked him if the  Americans  did not  celebrate feast days.  In response, on  July 4, 1842,  Sexton  erected a flag pole and raised an  American  flag  over  the  camp,  and  celebrated  along  with the Indians in  a  patriotic  fashion.  

- excerpt from an  article by Arda M. Haenszel


July 25, 2015 - Model Railroad Swap Meet

                         Train-Station Swap Meet


*  Saturday, July 25, 2015

*  8:00 am until Noon (Vendor setup 6:30 am to 8:00 am)

*  At the Santa Fe Depot...1170 West Third Street, San Bernardino, CA 92410  

*  Admission: $4.00 donation.  Accompaning spouse and under 18 free.   

*  Contact: Larry (951) 686-7890 or Gary (909) 794-3153 


1819 to 1820 - Dates to Remember


The Mill Creek Zanja (an irrigation ditch), shown here in a photograph from around 1890, was built by local Indians in 1819-1820.

For many years the padres at Mission San Gabriel (established in 1771) were interested in locating a ranch, and eventually a mission, in the San Bernardino Valley.  The opportunity did not arise until 1819, when the Indians at Guachama Rancheria asked the padres at Mission San Gabriel to teach them agriculture and stock raising.

Guachama Rancheria was an Indian village of 200-500 Native Americans located along what is now Mission Road, between California Street and Mountain View Avenue, in Loma Linda.  The area has also been referred to as Old San Bernardino or Cottonwood Row.

The first step in creating a thriving ranch was to bring water to the area.  This was done by digging a 12-mile zanja (an irrigation ditch) from Mill Creek, near what is now Mentone, down through Redlands and westward to Loma Linda.  

Construction of the zanja was done by Native Americans under the direction of Pedro Alvarez.  In 1820 a residence for a mayordomo (overseer) was built and Carlos Garcia became responsible for managing the flow of water and maintaining and repairing the zanja.

In his 1821 diary, Father Jose Sanchez writes that Rancho San Bernardino, "was well stocked, with a small cultivated area, and buildings used for storage and residence by the first mayor-domo".

Mill Creek Zanja is the oldest irrigation ditch in the county and for a long time supported San Gabriel Mission's ranch and estancia, as well as local farms and numerous industries that relied upon it's water.

Mill Creek Zanja is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is California Register Landmark No. 43.

The western half of the zanja has been covered over.  The Redlands Conservancy's Save the Zanja Committee plans to develop a natural-surface trail and greenway along or near the historic Zanja, from Ninth Street in downtown Redlands east to Mentone.  Completion is expected by 2019, in time for the Zanja's bicentennial.

Note:  For additional information see: Mill Creek Zanja, Driving Tour and Brief History by Tom Atchley, 2009.


Western Archives Newsletter for Mar. - Apr. 2015

Above is the ATSF annual report map of 1881 produced by Rand McNaly.

This is one of several maps discussed by Richard Pace in his article on Santa Fe Annual Report Maps

Click here to view the March - April issue of the Western Archives Newsletter. 


Steam Locomotion (1769 - 1927)


Click here to view a short Photo History of Steam Locomotives that was extracted from The History of Transportation, published by The Railway Education Bureau in 1927.