Firsts in San Bernardino

1938 - First Female

Flight Instructor in the 

Country (Evelyn 

Pinchert "Pinky" Brier).




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 04, 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)

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

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


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 Bermdez (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)

Doroothy 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]. 


December 25, 1888 - Alice Rowen Johnson

Pictured above are the women of the 1888 graduating class of the State Normal School in Los Angeles.  Alice Rowen Johnson (top row, second from the right) was the area's first black college graduate.

Education in the 19th century was vastly different from what it is today. For a youngster to obtain only eight years of schooling was not uncommon and high school graduation was rare.

The State Normal School of Los Angeles (a two year college) was created in 1881 and the first classes began in August 1882.  In 1919 the name was changed to the Southern Branch of the University of California.

The third and fourth years were added in 1924, and in 1927 the name was changed to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Alice was accepted into the college when she was 16 years old.  She was the first member of her race to enter the school, and on December 25, 1888, she was graduated in a class of 16. Alice became the first known black to teach white children.

Alice was the daughter of Elizabeth (Lizzy) Flake Rowan and Charles Rowan, who lived at 361 D Street near downtown San Bernardino.  Lizzy was a former slave, who at the age of four was given as a wedding present to James and Agnes Flake.

Lizzy came to San Bernardino as part of a wagon train of Mormons in 1851.  Alice's father ran a barber shop for almost 40 years inside the Southern Hotel, located at 4th and D Streets.

Click here to see a biography of Alice Rowan and other pioneer women in San Bernardino.


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.


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.  



March 31, 1986 - Santa Fe Museum Train


(Photo courtesy of Craig Walker)


*  The above photograph shows ATSF 2394, Santa Fe's only Alco RS-1, switching in San Bernardino's B Yard on January 26, 1974.  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.


Museum Sale - 1880s 3-Wheeled Velocipede

Human Powered Railroad Inspection Vehicle 


Contact Allen Bone (909) 260-5745



January 7, 1911 - Didier Masson

Didier Masson (1886-1950)                   1910 Curtiss-Willard Banshee Express, renamed "Pegasus" in 1911 

It  had been  slightly  more than  seven years  since the  Wright  Brothers  flew the world's first powered  flight  at  Kitty Hawk  when a daring  young  barnstorming  pilot  attempted the  first commercial  flight  in  the  country  by flying from  Los Angeles  to  San Bernardino with his unique cargo.

Didier Masson, a French pilot, took off from Los Angeles at 7:05 AM on January 7, 1911, with several bundles of the Los Angeles Times strapped to the wings of his biplane.  The plane, renamed "Pegasus", was the 1910 Curtiss-Willard Banshee and was powered by an eight cylinder, 50 horsepower Hall-Scott engine. 

Masson was to stop in Pomona on his way to San Bernardino.  However, the pilot got lost and running low on fuel landed in a field near Cucamonga.  Masson got a ride to Pomona where he picked up his ground crew and returned to his biplane.

After refueling and repairing the landing gear, Masson took off and headed east.  He landed in San Bernardino at 12:40 PM at Association Park, located off Mill Street between Waterman and Tippiecanoe.

After lunch at the Elks Club, Masson planned to put on a brief aerobatics show at San Bernardino and then fly back to Pomona for a second performance.  Unfortunately, he crashed on takeoff.  Masson was uninjured, but his airplane was damaged and the pilot never returned to Pomona.  

Masson may have arrived several hours later than expected, but he achieved an aeronautical first when he landed in San Bernardino with his cargo of newspapers.  Masson went on to fly as a mercenary in the Mexican Revolution and then in the Lafayette Escadrille during World War I.