Firsts in San Bernardino

1881 - First Time the City

of San Bernardino was

lighted by gas lamps.




Wednesday 9 AM - Noon
Saturday 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

April 01, 2019

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.


Click here for the Santa 

Fe Railway Historical and

Modeling Society.


Norton AFB Museum

Now Open:

Thursday 10:00 to 2:00

Saturday  10:00 to 2:00



N.A.R.V.R.E. Meeting

at the Mexico Cafe

The next meeting of the

National Association of

Retired & Veteran Railway

Employees will be held

at the Mexico Cafe.





Upcoming Events:

The Museum is open on:

Wednesday 9:00 to 12:00

Saturday 10:00 to 3:00  (Virtual Museum Tour)

Apr 27, 2019 - Western Prototype Modelers at the Depot


March 6, 1904 - Promontory Point and Lucin Cutoff

On May 10, 1869, it was at Promontory Summit (see Yellow Star) that the "Golden Spike" was driven into the special laurel railroad tie.  (Promontory Summit is 66 miles northwest of Salt Lake City and 32 miles west of Brigham City.)

Promontory Point (see Red Arrow), west of Ogden, Utah, is approximately 44 miles south of Promontory Summit.   It is not associated with the railroad until 1902-1904 when the Lucin Cutoff over the Great Salt Lake was constructed.

Not until the turn of the century were engineers able to build a causeway/trestle over the Great Salt Lake.

On March 6, 1904, freight trains began using the Lucin Cutoff (a 102-mile railroad line from Ogden to Lucin, Utah) and on September 18, 1904, passenger trains began using the cutoff.

This route was 43 miles shorter than the 1869 route over Promontory Summit and avoided the many curves and grades. Main line trains no longer pass over Promontory Summit.


Pioneer Women of San Bernardino

Top Row:

Jerusha Bemis (1799-1872)

Clare Cherry (1919-1990)

Eliza Robbins Crafts (1825-1910)

Janet Miles (1901-2008)

Maria Armenta Bermudez (1806-1858) 

Middle Row:

Mary Bennett Goodcell (1849-1909)

Sarah Jane Rousseau (1816-1872)

Lizzy Flake Rowan (1834-1908)

Mary Wixom Crandall (1834-1927)

Caterina Croce Massetti (1877-1946)

Bottom Row:

Alice Rowan Johnson (1868-1911)

Arda M. Haenszel (1910-2001)

Dorothy Inghram (1905-2012)

Pinky Brier (1909-2008)

Mourning Burnham Glenn (1814-1905) 


Click here to read the stories of all of these pioneering women and their contributions to San Bernardino.


1883 - Harvey Girls and "The Harvey Way"

In 1883, Fred Harvey visited the Harvey Lunch Room in Raton, New Mexico.  He fired all of the male waiters because of poor service and a midnight brawl.  Harvey then decided to replace the waiters with females.

CLICK HERE to view a Photo History of "Fred Harvey and The Harvey Girls".


May 3, 1888 - Lillie Langtry

Lillie Langtry (1853 - 1929), nicknamed "The Jersey Lily"  Lillie Langtry comes to San Bernardino

Lillie Langtry, an English actress known for her beauty and charm, was born in 1853 on the small island of Jersey, one of the British Channel Islands.

In 1881, at the suggestion of her friend Oscar Wilde, Lillie began her stage career.  A year later she started her own production company, touring the UK .

Mrs. Langtry came to the United States in 1882 and her first tour in the States was an enormous success.

Lillie rapidly became a superstar and for for decades commanded record-breaking fees (e.g., in 1905 when Lillie was in her 50's she was earning $2,500 a week for her work in vaudeville).

Lillie toured the United States thirteen times between 1882 and 1917.  

Records show that Mrs. Langtry performed in San Bernardino in July of 1887 and again in May of 1888.

Click here to see the May 3, 1888, souvenir program from the San Bernardino Opera House in which Lillie Langtry starred as Lady Ormond in "A Wife's Peril". 

Lillie performed on stage until 1918.  She died in Monaco in 1929 (the same year Wyatt Earp died).


Note: Langtry, Texas was named after a railroad civil engineer, not Ms. Lillie, and was the home of Judge Roy Bean ("Justice of the Peace, Law West of Pecos").  Bean, infatuated with Lillie Langtry, often wrote her, but never met her.  He even named the saloon that he dispensed his justice from, "The Jersey Lilly" [sic]. 


August 18, 1929 - Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart signed the above receipt for fuel when she landed in San Bernardino in 1932. She was also here for the 1929 Powder Puff Derby.

Do you remember these two great aviation firsts?

*  Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927

*  Wiley Post and Harold Gatty's 15,474 mile flight around the world in 1931

Between these two historic flights another aviation first took place, the First Women's Air Derby, part of the 1929 National Air Races and Aeronautical Exposition.

Will Rogers called it the "Powder Puff Derby", the name by which the race is most commonly known.

Nineteen pilots took off from Clover Field in Santa Monica on August 18, 1929 (another left the next day).  About a half hour later they landed in San Bernardino at Federal Field (east of Waterman Avenue between 3rd and 6th Streets), the end of the first lap of the race.

Before the race began, the Exchange Club met on the roof of the Fox Theater building on Court Street and painted “SAN BERNARDINO” in 12 foot high letters, hoping the fliers would see the sign

Among the fliers were Amelia Earhart, Ruth Elder and Florence Lowe Barnes.  Amelia Earhart and her fellow aviators made it to San Bernardino, had dinner and spent the night at the California Hotel before resuming the race the next day.

Fifteen made it to Cleveland, Ohio on August 26 and were greeted by 18,000 spectators.  Louise Thaden finished the race first and Amelia Earhart was third.


January 18, 1946 - The Harvey Girls (Movie)

                The Harvey Girls

* MGM Studios released the $2,931,000 musical film in Hollywood on January 18, 1946.

* Box office receipts in the United States and Canada exceeded $5 million.

* The film was based on the 1942 novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams, about Fred Harvey's famous Harvey House waitresses.

* It starred Judy Garland, John Hodiak, Ray Bolger, Angela Lansbury, Preston Foster and Virginia O'Brien.

* It was the first speaking role on film for Cyd Charisse.

* Byron Harvey J., grandson of Fred Harvey, had a role as a train conductor.

* The Harvey Girls won an Academy Award for Best Song, "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe", sung by Judy Garland.


June 3, 1985 - Evyln Wilcox





On June 3, 1985, Evyln Wilcox

 took office as the

First Female Mayor of San Bernardino.







March 2, 1998 - Judith Valles




On March 2, 1998Judith Valles

 became the

First Latina Mayor of San Bernardino.  



April 27, 2019 - Western Prototype Modelers

                               SO CAL MEET


                  29th Annual WPM Meet is Back

          At The San Bernardino Station for 2019

                           Saturday, April 27