Monday
Jun302014

January 01, 1885 - Horse Cars 

The driver shown here in 1889 is Lucas Westhoff. (Photo from San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society)

Public transportation in San Bernardino began with simple horse-drawn streetcars (they were called horse cars even though they were usually pulled by mules).

In 1885, the City Street Railroad Company was organized and their horse cars traveled up and down "D" Street and along the Third Street, providing service from the Santa Fe Depot to downtown San Bernardino.

The mules often balked at their heavy tasks making for noisy rides and sometimes unpredictable schedules. 

In 1901, the San Bernardino Valley Traction Company (SBVT) was incorporated, becoming the first company to operate electric streetcars in San Bernardino.  It was not long after that the horse cars began to disappear.

In 1904, Judge Oster dissolved the City Street Railroad Company.

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On January 12, 1888, the San Bernardino, Arrowhead & Waterman Railroad Company began construction of a railroad line from San Bernardino to Harlem Springs (hot springs and amusement park).

In June of that year, the company secured a franchise for a horse car line to transport passengers from 7th Street and A Street (now Sierra Way) to downtown San Bernardino.

By November 1888, the horse car line was completed.  Two horse cars were bought for $1,100 each and two mules were obtained.

On March 6, 1893, operations on the narrow gauge railroad to Harlem Springs were suspended.  In January 1894, the horse car line, starved for passengers, was abandoned as being unprofitable.