Firsts in San Bernardino

1993 - First Metrolink

Train (Metrolink No. 865

with a test train) that

arrived in San Bernardino.

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HOURS:

Wednesday 9 AM - Noon
Saturday 10 AM - 3 PM

FREE Admission

FREE Parking

FREE Tours

LOCATION:
1170 W. Third Street
San Bernardino, CA 92410

Map & Directions

MAILING ADDRESS:
San Bernardino
Historical &
Pioneer Society

P.O. Box 875
San Bernardino, CA 92402

EMAIL:
sbrrdays@me.com

PHONE:
(909) 888-3634 

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Depot & Museum Tour

December 06, 2017

Tours will  be conducted

on  the  first Wednesday of

each month at 10:00 am.

Call (909)  888-3634  for

a reservation.  FREE

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Group Tours

For a Group Tour on

Saturday or any other 

day call (909) 888-3634.

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Virtual Museum Tour

Click here for visual tour

of the museum.

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Photo Histories

Click here to view local San

Bernardino and railroad

photographic histories.

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Click here for the Santa 

Fe Railway Historical and

Modeling Society.

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Norton AFB Museum

Now Open:

Thursday 10:00 to 2:00

Saturday  10:00 to 2:00

More...

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Next Meeting at Coco's

The next meeting of the

National Association of

Retired & Veteran Railway

Employees will be held

at Coco's Restaurant.

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Saturday
Dec312016

Upcoming Events:

The Museum is open on:

Wednesday 9:00 to 12:00

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

 July 15, 2018 - 100th Anniversary of San Bernardino's Santa Fe Depot

Thursday
Feb062014

October 26, 1869 - Los Angeles & San Pedro RR


The "San Gabriel" (2-2-0) was the first steam locomotive to haul freight and passengers between Los Angeles and San Pedro.     (Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library)  

Built between 1868 and 1869, the 21-mile line connected Los Angeles with the shipping harbor of San Pedro.

The railroad was the brainchild of Phineas Banning, who made some of the first improvements to the harbor, dredging a channel and building a wharf (Banning also developed the port town of Wilmington).

As a California state senator, Banning sponsored a bill authorizing the City and County of Los Angeles to finance construction of the railroad. The city and county then awarded Banning a contract to construct the line.

When it opened on October 26, 1869, a crowd of 1,500 (roughly one-quarter of L.A.'s population at the time) converged on the rail depot at Alameda and Commercial to celebrate Banning's triumph. 

While an ox-cart and wagon road had connected Los Angeles to the harbor for decades, the railroad slashed the cost of transporting goods and passengers.

 The railroad charged $6 per ton to transport inbound dry goods to the city. Outbound grain cost $2.50 per ton to ship, and passengers could buy a one-way ticket to the port for $1.50. Total commerce at the harbor more than doubled from 26,000 net tons of freight in 1869 to 55,000 in 1871.

Investments in the port by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Southern Pacific Railroad (which bought Banning's 21-mile line in 1872) seemed to ensure that San Pedro Bay would be the site of the region's harbor.

Everything changed in the early 1890s, when the Southern Pacific abruptly abandoned the Wilmington and San Pedro ports and instead began routing its freight trains to Santa Monica. 

Wednesday
Feb052014

November 3, 2008 - Third Rail in Cajon Pass

On November 03, 2008, the final stretch of the new BNSF triple track over the Cajon Pass opened.

The Pass is located between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges, just north of the city of San Bernardino.  

The $90-million project added almost 16 miles of third main track and increased capacity on the route from 100 to 150 trains a day.

Over a four year period crews moved more than 1 million tons of earth, placed approximately 42,000 concrete railroad ties and laid more than 30 miles of steel rail.

The construction of this track represents the first additional BNSF main track through Cajon Pass since the second line was constructed in 1913 (the first track was laid in 1885).

(Courtesy of BNSF)

Tuesday
Feb042014

November 28, 1903 - Barney Oldfield

Barney Oldfield won his first race in 1902 in this Ford Race Car, "999". The car had a steering bar, not a steering wheel. (Henry Ford Collection)On November 28, 1903, Barney Oldfield, probably the most famous race car driver of his time, made his first appearance at Association Park in San Bernardino.

In January 1903 the San Bernardino Valley Traction Company (electric streetcar company) purchased the old Cole Racetrack on Mill Street near Waterman Avenue.  Renovation plans included a large grandstand, a baseball diamond and a football field.  The racetrack that had been used for horse racing was now to include automobile racing.  The racetrack was renamed Association Park.

Barney Oldfield, a bicycle racer since 1894, became a race car driver in 1902, when he participated in and won his first automobile race driving Henry Ford's first race car, the famous "No. 999".   Some of Oldfield's racing records:

*  In June 1903, he accomplished the first mile-a-minute performance in an automobile

*  In 1903 Oldfield became the AAA American National Champion

*  In 1905 he won the National Motor Car Championship 

*  In March 1910, he set a world speed record of 131.724 miles per hour

*  In May 1916, he became the first person to lap the Indianapolis Speedway at more than 100 mph

Barney Oldfield refused to wear uniforms, often chewed cigars while he drove, talked loudly and swore often. He took his race cars to county fairs and other venues and gave the folks a show they would never forget.

On January 24, 1909, Barney Oldfield again raced at Association Park.  This time Oldfield drove his Stearns Six-Cylinder "Big Ben" against Gus Seyfried and his famous "White Flyer".

Sunday
Feb022014

December 15, 1851 - Fort San Bernardino

There are no photographs of the actual Mormon Stockade or what has commonly been called Fort San Bernardino.  What you see above is depiction of the fort from a 1976 painting by Hazel C. Olson.

When the Mormons arrived in San Bernardino there was great fear of an attack by the desert Indians.  On December 15, 1851, after only 20 days of construction, the settlers completed a stockade that measured 750 feet long, 320 feet wide and 12 feet high.

In addition to the homes, inside the fort was a stream, a meeting and school house, a wagon shop, the colony office, and a tithing and store house.

The fort was located at the site of the 1926 Court House at Arrowhead Avenue and Court Street. There never was an attack on the fort and in 1853 the Mormons began to develop a master plan for the town based on the map of Salt Lake City.  

The County of San Bernardino was created in 1853 and the City of San Bernardino was incorporated in 1854.

Click here for details of the fort and its occupants, as well as the first map of the City.