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1950 -1979 Historic Dates in San Bernardino and The Railroad:

Saturday
Jan252014

March 02, 1950 - Norton Air Force Base

 

The base began as Municipal Airport San Bernardino in July 1942.  Over time the name was changed to San Bernardino Army Air Field, San Bernardino Air Field and San Bernardino Air Force Base.  On March 2, 1950, the base was renamed Norton Air force Base in honor of Captain Leland F. Norton.  

Leland Norton was born in San Bernardino on March 12, 1921, and attended local schools until he joined the Canadian Air Force in August 1941.  In May 1942, he transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps. Captain Norton, an A-20 pilot and Deputy Commander of the 640th Bomb Squadron, was shot down over France on May 27, 1944.  

Captain Norton was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his heroic actions and is buried in San Bernardino at Mountain View Cemetery.

Click here for a photo history of Captain Norton and Norton Air Force Base.

Click here to link to the Norton Air force Base Museum.

Saturday
Feb012014

November 19, 1954 - Sammy Davis, Jr.

Sammy Davis, Jr. (1925-1990)On November 19, 1954, Sammy Davis Jr., was returning to Los Angeles from Las Vegas when he crashed into a car that was backing up into his lane.

The accident occurred near the intersection of Cajon Boulevard (Route 66) and Kendall Drive.  Davis and his valet were rushed to San Bernardino County Hospital and later to Community Hospital, on 4th and Arrowhead.

That evening, the well-known eye surgeon Frederick Hull operated on Sammy's eye.  Dr. Hull had to remove Davis' left eye and install a prosthetic socket in its place. Later a glass eye was installed.

Sammy was released on November 28, promising to return to do a benefit show when the new community hospital was built.  Sammy then spent the next couple of weeks at Frank Sinatra's house in Palm Springs.  

On November 15, 1958, Sammy returned to San Bernardino for his benefit show.  The 7,500 seat Swing Auditorium at the National Orange Show was sold out.  

Sammy opened the show and later Judy Garland sang several of her hit songs.  Many of Hollywood's most famous stars were in attendance for this performance.  

In the 1960s Davis was a leading member of the famous Rat Pack, consisting of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

Sammy Davis Jr. become a superstar and when he passed away, the lights of the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor.

Tuesday
Mar252014

May 14, 1958 - ATSF 3751 moves into Viaduct Park

ATSF 3751 was moved into Viaduct Park (just west of the Santa Fe Depot) on May 14, 1958.  Attached to the front of the steam locomotive is a push car with an air compressor mounted upon it.  The compressor supplies air to the air brakes on the locomotive.

3751 was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in May 1927 at a cost of $99,713, and was the first 4-8-4 built for Santa Fe.  

The engine was retired in August, 1953, and was donated to the City of San Bernrdino in 1958 for display in Viaduct Park.  The locomotive remained there until 1986 when she was moved to the former Kaiser Steel Mill in Fontana.  There, the restoration was completed after countless hours of work by dedicated volunteers of the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society and at a cost of more than $700,000.

The locomotive began her second life as a steam excursion locomotive when she was charted to pull the "California Limited" from Los Angeles to Bakersfield and return in December of 1991.  Since then, the locomotive has pulled numerous excursions to destinations including Chicago, Sacramento, San Diego and the Grand Canyon.

3751 was in San Bernardino in June of 2004 for the dedication ceremonies at the completion of the restoration of the 1918 Santa Fe Depot.  The locomotive has pulled an excursion train from Los Angeles to San Bernardino and return every year from 2010 to 2014 for San Bernardino Railroad Days.

Today, 3751 is stored in Los Angeles at Redondo Junction.

Click here to learn more about 3751 and the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society.

Friday
Mar282014

June 5, 1964 - The Rolling Stones

      First American Concert

 

Songs performed by the Rolling Stones during their first U. S. concert (held in San Bernardino on June 5, 1964) include:

1.  Not Fade Away (The Crickets)

2.  I'm Talking About You (Chuck Berry)

3.  I Wanna Be Your Man (The Beatles)

4.  Hi-Heel Sneakers (Tommy Tucker)

5.  Route 66 (Nat King Cole)

6.  Walkin' the Dog (Rufus Thomas)

7.  Tell Me (The Rolling Stones)

8.  Beautiful Delilah (Chuck Berry)

9.  Can I Get a Witness (Marvin Gaye)

10.  I Just Want to Make Love to You (Muddy Waters)

11.  I'm All right (Bo Diddley)

 

*  The "June 1 - 1964" date on the poster is incorrect.  The Rolling Stones first U. S. tour began on June 1st when they arrived in New York at JFK Airport and gave a news conference.

*  On June 2nd & 3rd the Stones appeared on TV's Les Crane Show & Hollywwod Palace Show.

*  On June 4th they visited the RCA Recording Studios in Los Angeles.

*  The Rolling Stones' first U. S. concert actually took place in San Bernardino's Swing Auditorium at the National Orange Show on June 5, 1964, not on June 1, as the poster indicates.  And you could buy a ticket for $5.00.

*  Keith Richards said of their first American gig, "It was a straight gas, man.  They all knew the songs and they were all hopping.  It was like being back home.  Ah, love these Americans and Route 66 mentioned San Bernardino, so everybody was into it".

Note: On your next visit to the Museum look for the Rolling Stones' poster with the correct date.

Tuesday
Apr012014

March 27, 1971 - USS San Bernardino

USS San Bernardino, LST-1189, is a Tank Landing Ship and was one of 20 Newport Class LSTs (Photo courtesy of DefenseImagery.Mil)

*  The USS San Bernardino, LST -1189, (named in honor of the City of San Bernardino) was commissioned on March 27, 1971. 

*  The ship was 522 feet long, 70 feet wide, had a top speed of 22 knots (25 mph) and was assigned the home port of San Diego, CA.

*  Its crew consisted of 14 officers and 210 enlisted crew members. 

*  The ship carried 29 tanks & 350 combat troops while helicopters operated off the aft deck.

*  The ship was armed with the 20mm Phalanx system and 2 twin 3-inch/50-caliber guns.

*  The ship saw service in Vietnam and Desert Storm, was decommissioned on September 30, 1995, was sold to Chile and renamed Valdivia.

*  Photographs and memoribilia from the ship and its crew can be seen in the San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum.

(Photo taken in Coronado, CA, by John Lawlor) Offloading Its Cargo

 

*  As the ship approaches shore or a landing dock, the bow of the ship will separate into two halves.

 

*  A moveable ramp that has been stored on the ship's deck will be lowered to meet with the ground or dock.

 

*  A fixed gantry extending upward and forward from the ship will use a series of steel cables to support the moveable deck.

 

*  When in place the moveable deck will used to rapidly offload 29 tanks and 350 combat troops.

Thursday
Apr102014

January 1, 1978 - SB's First Rose Parade Float

*  In 1978, the City of San Bernardino entered its first float in the Rose Parade (the 89thyear of the Parade).

*  The City's float was titled, "Gateway to Early California"

*  ...and it won the Pioneers Trophy.