Firsts in San Bernardino

1887 - First Streetcar Line

in the City was put into


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

November 05, 2014

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 


November 7, 1852 - A Day to Remember

"The Fall of 1852 brought an important development to the newly formed Mormon settlement in San Bernardino. Colonel Henry Washington, a United States Deputy Surveyor, erected a monument on the top of Mount San Bernardino, east and a little north of the fort, and upon this base line surveys in the entire southern part of the state were, and still are, based. This is the extension of this survey line - the street now known as Base Line.

    Colonel Henry Washington's Survey Monument

"The monument erected by Washington was clearly visible from the valley, and the colonists derived a distinct thrill from seeing it. The colony had an official clerk, who recorded events daily. His record for November 7, 1852 reads: "In the evening, a little after dark, Colonel Washington's fires were seen burning on the top of Mount San Bernardino." On November 8, "Colonel Washington's flag could be seen through spyglasses, waving on the top of Mount San Bernardino."

"Of eleven bearings taken to define the location of this monument, pictured at right, nine were to natural landmarks, and two to buildings: the Mormon Fort, apparent distance 23.5 miles, and Old Mission Building, 20 miles. Records show that the surveyors found it difficult to obtain true fixes on triangulation marks because of the shimmering heat waves of the Valley. To overcome this difficulty, huge fires were built atop the peaks that surround the Valley, including 10,630-foot Mt. San Bernardino, and the surveys were made at night.

"In 1949, San Bernardino celebrated "Covered Wagon Days." Colonel Washington's bonfire was recreated, with the help of magnesium flares, the U. S. Army, the U.S. Forestry Service, the San Bernardino Argonaut Club, film star and Highland resident Edward Arnold, network radio coverage via KFXM. Despite fog, which moved in, a tremendous explosion was visible in San Bernardino when the flares misfired. Fortunately, no one was hurt."

(Extracted from Guideposts to History by Elizabeth W. Richards, 1966)


New Santa Fe Shops in San Bernardino - 1926

Complete View of Modern Steam Boiler Plant; Fire Department Building: also Containing Shop; Men's Assembly Hall; and Boiler and Machine Shops from South End (Railway Age, April 10, 1926)


Santa Fe Completes Reconstruction of Coast Line Shops

 Locomotive repair plant at San Bernardino is rebuilt on enlarged scale                                       and fully equipped with the latest labor-saving machinery.


     The major part of the extension to the locomotive department at San Bernardino began in 1922 and will be completed this year [1926].  The new shops occupy the site of the old shops established in 1887.

     The new plant includes a 43-stall engine house and a repair plant having a shop capacity of 315 freight cars and 30 passenger cars.

     The most important building in the locomotive repair plant is the 673-ft. machine shop made up of three bays: a 90-ft. erecting bay next to the transfer table; a light machine bay of 46 feet and a heavy machine bay of 65 feet.

     The boiler shop (also 673 feet in length) is 164 feet wide being made up of two bays, the erecting bay 90 feet wide, and the machine bay 74 feet wide.

     Both the locomotive and boiler shops are of the transverse type and contain 30 pits and 29 pits respectively and both of these buildings face a transfer table of 65 feet.

     Another transfer table 120 feet in length is situated 260 feet east of the boiler shop.

     The fire-proof power plant is 103 feet long and 81 ft. 9 in. wide.  A concrete wall longitudinally down the center of the building divides the boiler room and the engine room.  The boilers are oil fired but the boiler room affords adequate space for the installation of coal handling equipment.

     Other new facilities include: a 306 ft. blacksmith shop; the flue shop; sheet metal and flue storage shop; a concrete building used for reclaiming oil; another for reclaiming magnesia lagging; a shed for storing fire brick; a new two-bay fire station; a new hospital; offices and an apprentice school; and an extention of the 1909 fireproof storehouse and construction of a new platform.

(Extracted from the April 10, 1926, issue of Railway Age)

Click here to see additional track charts. 


November 19, 1954 - A Day to Remember

Sammy Davis, Jr. (1925-1990)On November 19, 1954, Sammy Davis Jr., was returning to Los Angeles from Las Vegas when he crashed into a car that was backing up into his lane.

The accident occurred near the intersection of Cajon Boulevard (Route 66) and Kendall Drive.  Davis and his valet were rushed to San Bernardino County Hospital and later to Community Hospital, on 4th and Arrowhead.

That evening, the well-known eye surgeon Frederick Hull operated on Sammy's eye.  Dr. Hull had to remove Davis' left eye and install a prosthetic socket in its place.  Later a glass eye was installed.

Sammy was released on November 28, promising to return to do a benefit show when the new community hospital was built.  Sammy then spent the next couple of weeks at Frank Sinatra's house in Palm Springs.  

On November 15, 1958, Sammy returned to San Bernardino for his benefit show.  The 7,500 seat Swing Auditorium at the National Orange Show was sold out.  

Sammy opened the show and later Judy Garland sang several of her hit songs.  Many of Hollywood's most famous stars were in attendance for this performance.  

In the 1960s Davis was a leading member of the famous Rat Pack, consisting of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

Sammy Davis Jr. become a superstar and when he passed away, the lights of the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor.


ATSF 2926 (4-8-4) to become Operational

Above is a rarely seen photo of ATSF 2926 (4-8-4), discovered in a library at Southern Methodist University. 

The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe bought a total of 65 Northerns (4-8-4s), all from the Baldwin Locomotive Works.  The very first 4-8-4 was number 3751, which is still operational and is owned by the SBRHS.  The last group of 30 (built in 1943 and 1944) was known as Class 2900 and included road numbers 2900 - 2929.

There are nine surviving Santa Fe Northerns including: 3751 in Los Angeles, CA; 3759 in Kingman, AZ; 3768 in Wichita, KS; 2903 in Union, IL; 2912 in Pueblo, CO; 2913 in Madison, IA; 2921 in Modesto, CA; 2925 in Sacramento, CA and 2926 in Albuquerque, NM.

NMSL&RHS (New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fully restoring ATSF 2926 to operational status.

As of August 2014, assembly of the tender is complete, although there is some minor work still to do.  The engine is well past the disassembly & inspection stage and well into final assembly of its re-furbished parts!

The  NMSL&RHS has announced the goal of finishing the Locomotive by the fall of 2015 in preparation for a year of running trials. 


Western Archives Newsletter for July - Aug. 2014

          Researching Kaiser Steel

Jeff Staggs presents us with a unique perspective of Santa Fe and the Kaiser Steel Plant, that was located 11 miles west of San Bernardino.

Jeff had previously worked for Kaiser Steel and is currently the editor of the SFRH&MS Western Archives Newsletter and has spent hundreds of hours searching the files and photographs to tell this story.

Also in this issue is an order form and information for Los Angeles Division Employee Timetables and Division Dispatcher Trainsheets.

Click here to see the current issue of the Santa Fe Western Archives Newsletter.