July 2, 1915 - Pioneer Park

Relaxing Under a Pepper Tree in Pioneer Park in the Early 20th Century (Postcard courtesy of the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society)

When the expected Indian attack never materialized, the original Mormon settlers in San Bernardino decided to move out of the fort they had built in 1851.  In 1853 the City of San Bernardino was laid out like a miniature Salt Lake City.  The town was one mile-square, laid out in blocks containing eight acres each.

A block-square public park was established in the center of town.  It was located between 5th and 6th Street and Salt Lake (E) Street and California (F) Street.  The park in the early years was called the "Public Square", then "City Park" and "Lugo Park" (for the Lugo family, the first owners).  

On July 2, 1915, the City Council officially established the name of the park as "Pioneer Park".

Over the years numerous buildings were erected in this eight-acre park, including:

*  1880, St. Catherine's Convent School (torn down in 1927 to build the California Hotel)

*  1890, Pavilion (burned down in 1913)

*  1908, Log cabin of the Pioneer Society (burned down in 1973)

*  1910, Catholic Church (still stands at 5th & F Streets)

*  1923, Municipal Auditorium (closed in 1979 and demolished in 1982)

*  1927, California Hotel (went out of business in 1972 and was torn down in 1985)

*  c.1928, St. Bernardine's Catholic High School (replaced in 1981 by apartments for seniors)

*  Various War Memorials (most still remain)

Today we think of the park as the home of the Feldheym Library (opened to the public in 1985).

Click here to see photographs of the buildings and more of Pioneer Park.