Firsts in San Bernardino

2006 - First Police

Helicopter in the City

(a Robinson R44) joined

the SBPD Patrol Fleet.




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

May 02, 2018

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



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 on:

Wednesday 9:00 to 12:00

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

April 28, 2018 - Western Prototype Modelers Meet

May 12, 2018 - Route 66 Railway Day

July 12, 2018 - 10th Anniversary of the San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum

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


April 28, 2018 - Western Prototype Modelers Meet


May 12, 2018 - Route 66 Railway Day


March 31, 1986 - Santa Fe Museum Train


(Photo courtesy of Craig Walker)


*  The above photograph shows ATSF 2394, one of Santa Fe's Alco RS-1, switching in San Bernardino's B Yard on January 26, 1974.  ATSF 2394 was the last Alco RS1 in service and was retired in San Bernardino.  In 1986, the engine became part of the Santa Fe Museum Train.

*  This engine was one of nine diesel engines and three steam locomotives (0-4-0 #5 'Little Buttercup', 4-8-4 #2925 and 2-10-4 #5021) that Santa Fe had stored in Albuquerque with the intention of building a railroad museum.

*  The museum never materialized and instead the engines were donated to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

*  On March 31, 1986, the Santa Fe Museum Train with twelve historic engines departed New Mexico for California.

*  As of December 2014, San Bernardino's switcher, #2394, was in the California State Railroad Museum's Shop undergoing restoration.


1921 - Santa Fe Smokestack & Whistle

Plate attached near the bottom of the Smokestack

The Smokestack was build in 1921 to support the adjacent Power Plant that was constructed two years later.

It is 10 feet in diameter and 189 feet tall. The Smokestack and the Depot are the most prominent and only structures that remain after Santa Fe's 100 plus years in San Bernardino.

Immediately to the north of the Smokestack is an 80 foot tall steel pipe topped with the steam Whistle that was installed on the Power Plant.

The Whistle is now operated by compressed air at 8 AM, noon & 5 PM.

Additionally, there are a couple of Santa Fe clocks and a Santa Fe Air Raid Siren on display in the San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum, located within the Depot.


April 10, 1926 - New Santa Fe Shops

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. 


April 13, 1925 - Wilson versus Holcomb

In 1925, this Banner hung over E Street in San Bernardino (This photo was cropped from the "Mystery Photograph" taken by Evan V. Davis)

The General Election for the City of San Bernardino was held on April 13, 1925 and Fred A. Wilson was running against the incumbant, Grant Holcomb.

 Fred A. Wilson

Fred Wilson began practicing law in San Bernardino in 1912 and was associated with several prominent attorneys, including Ralph Swing and Martin Coughlin.

From 1930 to 1934, Wilson served as San Bernardino City Attorney and from 1934 to 1938 was a member of the Water Commissioners.

Mr. Wilson was a prominent water law attorney who argued cases before both the California and the U. S. Supreme Courts. 

He was one of the principals in the development of the Perris Hill Plunge.

Grant Holcomb 

Grant Holcomb was the grandson of pioneer William F. Holcomb who discovered gold in Holcomb Valley in 1860.

He was the father of W. R. "Bob" Holcomb who was Mayor of San Bernardino from 1971 to 1985 & from 1989 to 1993.

He gradulated from Stanford University, studing law, & after passing the bar, he began practicing law in San Bernardino.

Two months prior to the election of 1925, the City Council selected him to become the Mayor to succeed S. W. McNabb, who retired to become a U. S. District Attorney.

Fred A. Wilson received 3,124 votes in his bid for Mayor and Grant Holcomb was re-elected Mayor with 3,290 votes.

Click here for the full story of the "Mystery Photograph" in which the mayoral banner appeared.