Firsts in San Bernardino

1990 - First Route 66

Rendezvous (300 cars

and 4,000 spectators).

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HOURS:
Saturdays 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:
sbrrdays@me.com

PHONE:
(909) 888-3634 

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Depot & Museum Tour

November 01, 2017

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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Next Meeting at Coco's

The next meeting of the

National Association of

Retired & Veteran Railway

Employees will be held

at Coco's Restaurant.

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Saturday
Dec312016

Upcoming Events:

The Museum is open Saturday from 10:00 to 3:00  (Virtual Museum Tour)

Oct 21, 2017 - Roundhouse Gang Train-Station Swapmeet at the Museum

Tuesday
Apr082014

October 21, 2017 - Roundhouse Gang Swapmeet

Tuesday
Feb112014

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.

Sunday
Feb092014

October 8, 1873 - Grief Embers

 Grief Embers

Grief Embers was one of 26 slaves that accompanied the Mormons on their journey to San Bernardino in 1851.

Grief was born in 1812 or 1813 and was first a slave for a Mr. Embers, then for Mormon Bishop William Crosby.  Grief Embers may have suffered some tragedy in early life and thus acquired the name Grief, for the term "grief" did not fit his personality.

Grief was best known for his tin horn, said to be about six feet long, that he played for his own amusement, on holiday celebrations and to call the men together in preparation for an Indian attack.

After the Mormon recall of 1857, about 60 percent of the San Bernardino Mormons returned to Utah.  Land prices plummeted. Grief became the earliest recorded black owner of real estate in the Inland Empire (I Street south of Mill Street). Grief and his wife, Harriet, had three daughters.

Grief Embers died of natural causes on October 8, 1873.  In his obituary that appeared in the San Bernardino Guardian it was stated that, "Grief Embers, a well-known colored man, died suddenly about noon yesterday, from the bursting of a blood vessel.  He died respected by all who knew him".

Saturday
Feb082014

October 16, 2003 - President George W. Bush

(Photograph courtesy of the U. S. White House)

President George W. Bush met privately with California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday, October 16, 2003, at Riverside's Mission Inn.

At San Bernardino's Radisson Hotel (formerly the Red Lion and recently called the Clarion Hotel) the President addressed a group of VIPs discussing the economy and terrorism.

George W. Bush, the son of a former President, graduated from Yale and Harvard, was an F-102 pilot in the Texas Guard, owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, and former governor of Texas before becoming President in 2001.  

(Theodore Roosevelt was the first Prtesident to visit San Bernardino.)

Click here for a history of the U. S. Presidents that have visited San Bernardino.

Thursday
Feb062014

October 26, 1869 - Los Angeles & San Pedro RR


The "San Gabriel" (2-2-0) was the first steam locomotive to haul freight and passengers between Los Angeles and San Pedro.     (Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library)  

Built between 1868 and 1869, the 21-mile line connected Los Angeles with the shipping harbor of San Pedro.

The railroad was the brainchild of Phineas Banning, who made some of the first improvements to the harbor, dredging a channel and building a wharf (Banning also developed the port town of Wilmington).

As a California state senator, Banning sponsored a bill authorizing the City and County of Los Angeles to finance construction of the railroad. The city and county then awarded Banning a contract to construct the line.

When it opened on October 26, 1869, a crowd of 1,500 (roughly one-quarter of L.A.'s population at the time) converged on the rail depot at Alameda and Commercial to celebrate Banning's triumph. 

While an ox-cart and wagon road had connected Los Angeles to the harbor for decades, the railroad slashed the cost of transporting goods and passengers.

 The railroad charged $6 per ton to transport inbound dry goods to the city. Outbound grain cost $2.50 per ton to ship, and passengers could buy a one-way ticket to the port for $1.50. Total commerce at the harbor more than doubled from 26,000 net tons of freight in 1869 to 55,000 in 1871.

Investments in the port by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Southern Pacific Railroad (which bought Banning's 21-mile line in 1872) seemed to ensure that San Pedro Bay would be the site of the region's harbor.

Everything changed in the early 1890s, when the Southern Pacific abruptly abandoned the Wilmington and San Pedro ports and instead began routing its freight trains to Santa Monica.