Firsts in San Bernardino

1883 - First Passenger

Train arrives in San

Bernardino (California

Southern Railroad).

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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:

allenbone@verizon.net

PHONE:
(909) 888-3634 

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Depot & Museum Tour

October 2, 2019

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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N.A.R.V.R.E. Meeting

at the Mexico Cafe

The next meeting of the

National Association of

Retired & Veteran Railway

Employees will be held

at the Mexico Cafe.

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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)

October 19, 2019 - Roundhouse Gang Model Railroad Swap Meet

Wednesday
Jul012015

Oct. 19, 2019 - Roundhouse Gang Swap Meet

Monday
Oct202014

September 27, 1825 - World's First Passenger Train

The above image was copied from "The History of Transportation", a small book published by the Railway Education Bureau in 1927.

On September 27, 1825, Locomotion No. 1 became the world's first steam locomotive to carry passengers on a public line, the Stockton and Darlington Railway, in North East England.

Locomotion No. 1 was built by George Stephenson at his son Robert's company, the Robert Stephenson and Company.

George Stephenson drove the first train. The engine was called Active (later renamed Locomotion). It pulled a train with 450 passengers at a speed of 15 miles an hour.

George Stephenson (9 June 1781 – – 12 August 1848) was a self made mechanical engineer, largely credited with building the first railway line and becoming the ‘father of the railways’.

His rail gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches became the global standard gauge for most of the world's railways.

George also built the first public inter-city railway line in the world to use locomotives, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which opened in 1830. 

Stephenson's "Locomotion No. 1" can be seen at the Darlington Railway Centre and Museum, located in an original 1840s railway station.

Sunday
Oct192014

September 13, 1883 - First Train in San Bernardino

For over 11 months the Southern Pacific Railroad prevented a train from entering San Bernardino from the South.  Southern Pacific used legal and physical means to prevent the train from crossing the SP east-west track at the Colton Crossing. 

Virgil Earp (a special agent for Southern Pacific and later the first City Marshall of Colton) led the group that prevented California Southern Railroad from heading north to San Bernardino.

On September 13, 1883, after a court order was issued and an "at grade" crossing (called a "frog") was installed, the first passenger train arrived in San Bernardino from National City (just south of San Diego).  The train, pulled by Engine No. 4,  was operated by the California Southern Railroad, later owned by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

Fred T. Perris, a civil engineer and surveyor for the railroad, was at the whistle.  (Photograph by H. B. Wesner) 

Note: On August 28, 2013, a public celebration was held to dedicate the opening of the new Colton Crossing Rail-to-Rail Grade Separation.  After 130 years the east-west Union Pacific Railroad tracks were raised to pass over the north-south BNSF Railroad tracks.  This will alleviate congestion at the crossing, which accommodates more that 100 trains each day.

Saturday
Oct182014

September 13, 1883 - Second Train in San Bernardino

In addition to Calfornia Southern Engine No. 4, another train was in San Bernardino on September 13, 1883, that was pulled by the California Southern Engine No. 12 (decorated with corn stalks and flowers).

It has been often said that No. 12 was the first passenger train that arrived in San Bernardino.  No doubt it looks like a train decorated for a special occassion.  California Southern Engine No. 4  is considered by some as a "inspection" train and not the first passenger train.

The San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society has a copy of a letter from Fred Perris (with an attached photograph) that says that California Southern's Engine No. 4 pulled the first passenger train into San Bernardino.  

Unfortunately, there is little documention of the events of September 13, 1883.

Monday
Sep012014

September 1, 1894 - The Daily Sun 

On September 1, 1894, the first issue of San Bernardino's The Daily Sun was printed.   Since its beginning in the late 19th Century the name of the newspaper has changed from The Daily Sun to the Sun-Telegram, to the San Bernardino County Sun and to its current name, The Sun.

The first newspaper printed in San Bernardino was the Herald, with it’s first issue on June 16, 1860, however it ceased publication six months later.  Many other newspapers were printed before and after The Daily Sun but none lasted nearly as long.

On April 8, 2013, The Sun donated its expansive archives to the San Bernardino County Historical Archives who will digitize all the newspapers, from 1894 to 1999.  The digitized copies will be stored at Cal State San Bernardino’s library and on the internet.

Wednesday
Aug202014

September 10, 1923 - Municipal Auditorium

 

In 1921, a $200,000 bond was passed to finance a Municipal Memorial Hall to honor the vetrans killed in World War I.  The hall was built within two years, on the site of the old Pavilion and soon became known as the Municipal Auditorium.  Six Grecian columns of Ionic design adorned the front of the building.

The building had a 100 by 114 foot auditorium that seats 3,000 and a stage that can hold 300.  It was the first building west of New York that had sound-deading acoustic tile.

On Monday, September 10, 1923, a three day grand opening celebration began:

-  Opening ceremonies on the first evening drew over 2,000 people, including hundreds of children.

-  Over 3,000 folks heard the San Bernardino Community Orchestra on the second day.

-  The Grand Ball and Pioneer Dance drew another 2,000 to the closing night festivities.

For decades, the building was in constant use for all kinds of cultural events, dances, circuses, conventions, big bands, etc.  But by the sixties, there were fewer and fewer gatherings at the Auditorium.

Over the years there was talk of turning it into a museum or art gallery, or maybe even a boxing arena.  On January 5, 1979, the city locked its doors due to safety concerns.  It was estimated that $750,000 was needed to bring the 56 year old building up to modern building and fire standards.  

About the same time the city was told that the City Public Library would have to vacate its quarters in two years to make room for the County Superblock.  To build a new lbrary on the site of the Auditorium was $2.0 million less than rennovating the old building for use as a library.

In June of 1982, the Municipal Auditorium was torn down to make way for the Norman F. Feldhyem Library.

Wednesday
Aug202014

September 15, 1981 - "John Bull" Runs Again

1981 photograph by William Duvall

 *  In 1831, "John Bull" first operated on the Camden & Amboy Railroad (the first railroad in New Jersey).

*  In 1833, "John Bull" pulled its first regular passenger train.

*  In 1866, "John Bull" was removed from active service and placed in storage.

*  In 1871, "John Bull" was acquired by the Pennsylvania Railroad, refurbished and operated a few times for public displays.

*  In 1884, "John Bull" was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution as the museum's first major industrial display.

*  In 1981, "John Bull" celebrated its 150th anniversary by making its last run, on the old Georgetown Branch rails beside the C&O Canal in Washington, DC, thus becoming the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world.

 *  "John Bull" is now back on display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Friday
Aug152014

September 22, 1990 - Route 66 Rendezvous

Click here to view 25 years of posters from San Bernardino's Route 66 Rendezvous.