Firsts in San Bernardino

1941 - First Military Base

opens (in 1950, it was

renamed Norton Air Forse




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

January 04, 2017

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 16, 1916 - Santa Fe Depot Burns

The photographer is looking northwest at the remains of the first Santa Fe Depot after the 11:00 PM fire of November 16, 1916.  This once beautiful two story wood frame and brick structure was built in 1886, three years after the first passenger train arrived in San Bernardino.

This depot was located about 350 feet east of the current depot, just north of Third Street between what is now K Street and Kendall Ave.  A Fred Harvey Lunch Room and newsstand were located within the depot.

Also, destroyed in the fire were 30 years of Santa Fe records, covering every aspect of the Los Angeles Division.

Click here for a photo history of the first Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino.


December 12, 1948 - The First McDonald's


Richard J. McDonald (1909-1998)Murice J. McDonald (1902-1971)

"In the 1940s, the McDonald brothers, Richard and Maurice, opened a barbeque restaurant called McDonald's on the southwest corner of 14th and E Streets.

"The Location was just four blocks south of San Bernardino High School and the astute McDonald brothers observed that much of their clientele was comprised of students on school breaks, who needed to eat in a hurry...


"In 1948, as they watched the post-war car craze take hold, the brothers converted McDonald's to a drive-in burger bar.  The grand opening took place on December 12, 1948. It's the moment the fast food industry was born...

"The McDonald brothers...were generous in sharing their methods with others, and acting as mentors to such other fast food pioneers as Neal Baker, founder of the Baker's chain, and Baker's friend and fellow San Bernardino HIgh School classmate Glen Bell, who founded Taco Tia, Taco Bell and De Wienerschnitzel.

"The McDonald brothers sold their business to investing partner Ray Kroc in 1961 for $2.7 million."

(Postcard is from Steve Shaw and text from John Weeks', San Bernardino Bicentennial 1810-2010)


December 17, 1864 - Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp at about 21 years of age (Courtesy of Nick Cataldo)Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp came to San Bernardino for the first time on December 17, 1864, when he was 16. 

Wyatt and his family camped for a few days just east of Sierra Way and Court Street; later his parents leased farm land on the banks of the Santa Ana River.

Wyatt and his brothers disliked farming and it wasn't long before they all left the area. 

Dodge City and Tombstone will always be associated with the Earp brothers, but Wyatt also spent time in Alaska, Denver, San Francisco and San Diego.

Wyatt often returned to San Bernardino, Colton and the surrounding area to visit friends and relatives.

Wyatt and wife Sadie spent more that 20 years in San Bernardino County prospecting for gold and copper, and eventually owned nearly 100 mines.

Wyatt died peacefully on January 13, 1929, at age 80.

Click here for the story of The Earp Clan in Southern California.


December 31, 1935 - Monopoly Trains


The boardgame, Monopoly, was patented on December 31, 1935 and contains four railroads:



                      Reading Railroad

Chartered in 1833, the Reading began operations from Philadelphia to Reading and Pottsville in 1842.  The main purpose of the railroad was to carry anthracite coal from the mines in northeastern Pennsylvania to Philadelphia.

Until the decline after World War II, it was one of the most prosperous corporations in America.  It went into bankruptcy in the 1970's, merged with Conrail in 1976 & its holding were disposed of in 2000. 


                     Pennsylvania Railroad

The "Pennsy" as it is commonly referred to, was founded in 1846, the original line connecting Harrisburgh and Pittsburgh.

It was the largest railroad by traffic and revenue in the U. S. for the first half of the 20th century.  By 1925, it had over 10,000 miles of rail lines.

In 1968, it merged with the New York Central to form the Penn Central, which filed for bankruptcy within two years. Parts were transferred to Conrail, then to Norfolk Southern.


                               B & O Railroad

Incorporated in 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was the first commercial railroad in America.

On Januray 7, 1830, the first "official" passengers rode in horse-drawn carts from Baltimore to the Carroloton Viaduct.  On May 24, 1830 the line was extended to Ellicott's Mills, MD, the oldest surviving railroad station in the country.

The B & O operated for over a century, but in 1963 it became part of the Chessie System which later became part of CSX.


                                 Short Line 

When we think of short line railroads, we typically refer to a local railroad that either serves a small number of towns and industries or hauls cars for one or more larger railroads. 

The Short Line on the Monopoly board, is a shortened name for the Shore Fast Line, a streetcar system that served Atlantic City and Ocean City, New Jersey from 1907 to 1948. 

The company that operated the streetcars of the Shore Fast Line was called the Atlantic City and Shore Railroad.