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Firsts in San Bernardino:



 ------ - First People living in the San Bernardino Valley were Serrano and Cahuilla Indians


1772 - First Europeans in the area were Spanish Explorers, Soldiers and Priests



1800 - 1849 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1810 - First Time the Area called "San Bernardino" (by Father Dumetz on May 20, 1810)

1819 - First Documentation of a Settlement named "San Bernardino"

1820 - The First Zanja (irrigation ditch of 12 miles) was dug from Mill Creek to Mission Rancho San Bernardino

1823 - First Time "Bernardino" was annotated on a map of California (by Jose M. Narvaes)

1827 - First Visit by explorer Jedediah Smith to Mission Rancho San Bernardino

1830 - First Caravan on the Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe, NM, to Los Angeles, CA, stops at San Bernardino

1835 - First Time "S. Bernardino" was annotated on a California map (by Thomas Coulter)

1839 - First Time "San Bernardino" was annotated on Map of the United States (by David Burr)

1842 - First Time the American Flag was flown in the San Bernardino area (by Daniel Sexton)

1842 - First Mexican Land Grant encompassing San Bernardino was given to the Lugo Family


1850 - 1859 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1851 - First Blacks (26 of them) arrive in San Bernardino (with over 450 Mormons)

1851 - First Jewish Settlers arrive in San Bernardino

1851 - First Fort, the Mormon Stockade, located on C Street (Arrowhead Ave.) between 3rd and 4th Streets

1852 - First Public Building - The adobe Mormon Council House on C Street (now Arrowhead Ave.) and 3rd St.

1852 - First Store was operated by Marcus Katz, who conducted business on a barter basis

1852 - First Law Officer was Bud Rollins

1852 - First Direct Mail Service from the East arrived in the city

1852 - First U. S. Post Office in San Bernardino (the Postmaster did not receive a salary)

1853 - First Publc Park (between 5th & 6th, and E & F) was called City Park, Lugo Park & recently Pioneer Park

1854 - First Hotel in San Bernardino was Bishop William Crosby's Log Cabin

1854 - First Time that San Bernardino was Incorporated as a City

1854 - First Municipal Election: Amasa Mason Lyman was chosen the First Mayor of San Bernardino

1854 - First Parcel of Land (148.5 feet x 297 feet) Purchased in the City (sold to Ira S. Miles for $125)

1854 - First Permanent School was Warm Springs School

1857 - First Oranges in the County - Six Trees planted by Anson Van Leuven

1858 - First Bank, the Bank of San Bernardino, was started by Lewis Jacobs on 4th Street and Arrowhead Ave.

1858 - First Regular Bi-weekly Stagecoach Service began between San Bernardino and Los Angeles

1858 - First Drug Store, an Adobe Building erected by Dr. Benjamin Barton on 4th Street and Arrowhead Ave.


1860 - 1869 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1860 - First Discovery of Gold in Holcomb Valley (north of Big Bear) by William F. (Billy) Holcomb

1860 - First Newspaper in the County - "The San Bernardino Herald"

1860 - First Jail built in the City is now located at the Heritage House, 8th and D Streets

1860 - First U. S. Census as a City (pop. City - 940; County - 5,551; State - 379,994)

1861 - First Jewish Cemetery, "Home of Eternity Cemetery" (9th Street and Sierra Way)

1863 - First Time the City Dis-incorporated (probably due to administrative expenses)

1864 - First Visit by Wyatt Earp (camped with his family, just east of Sierra Way and Court Street)

1865 - First Fire Protection Company was organized (with 4 men and $103 of equipment)

1866 - First Fire Station (located at Third and Arrowhead Streets)

1867 - First Chinese arrive in the area (1880 census lists 16 men, ages 19 to 31)

1867 - First Brickyard in the area (established by Henry Goodall, Sr.)

1867 - First Brick Building (erected by John H. Stewart at the corner of 3rd and D Streets)

1868 - First Arrowhead Springs Hotel was built (burned down in 1885)

1869 - First Artesian Well in the City


1870 - 1879 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1873 - First Telegraph sent from San Bernardino - September 18th by De La M. Woodward

1874 - First Permanent Court House built in the County (Court Street east of E Street)

1878 - First Fire Vehicle (Rumsey Hand Pumper)


1880 - 1889 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1880 - First Two Story Brick Hotel (Starke's Hotel, located at 3rd and Arrowhead)

1880 - First Catholic School (St. Catherine's Convent School, 5th Street, between E and F)

1881 - First Time the City of San Bernardino was lighted by gas lamps 

1881 - First Telephone Service established between San Bernardino and Colton

1882 - First Opera House (Court and D Streets, built 4 years before Los Angeles had one)

1883 - First Passenger Train arrives in San Bernardino (California Southern Railroad)

1884 - First Steam Powered Fire Engine (initially hand drawn, later horse drawn)

1885 - First Horse (Mule) Car in the City was operated by the San Bernardino City Street Railway

1885 - First Y.M.C.A. (started in Garner Hall on D Street, between Court and 4th Streets)

1886 - First Official City Seal of San Bernardino was embossed on San Bernardino City Ordinance No. 1

1886 - First Appearance of the Salvation Army

1886 - First Train of the Southern California Motor Road begins operating between San Bernardino and Colton

1886 - First Permanent Santa Fe Depot was built on Third Street (destroyed by fire in 1916)

1887 - First Stewart Hotel was built (located on the corner of 3rd and E Streets)

1887 - First Streetcar Line in the City was put into operation

1887 - First Santa Fe Train to operate on the San Bernardino and Los Angeles Railway

1887 - First Amusement Park - Harlem Springs (Base Line and Victoria)

1888 - First Train Runs to Harlem Hot Springs on the San Bernardino, Arrowhead & Waterman Railroad

1888 - First Train from San Bernardino to Redlands & Mentone on the San Bernardino & Redlands Motor Road

1888 - First Members of the San Bernardino Society of California Pioneers


1890 - 1899 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1890 - First Hose Wagon for the Fire Department was built by Allen & Sons (restored in 1997)

1891 - First Use of Water Under Pressure and the First Fire Hydrant installed in the City

1891 - First Citrus Fair in San Bernardino, in the new Pavilion, located in Lugo (Pioneer) Park

1891 - First Electric Street Lights in the City of San Bernardino

1892 - First Permanent High School (8th and E Streets, now the site of Sturges Auditorium)

1892 - First Paving of Downtown Streets completed (parts of D, E, Second and Third)

1893 - First Free Public Library in San Bernardino (at I. R. Brunn's residence on 4th Street)

1894 - First Edition of The Daily Sun was publshed; it's now called The Sun


1900 - 1909 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1901 - First Permanent City Hall is built (on the corner of Third and D Streets)

1901 - First Street Fair downtown (with queen, grand ball, races, etc.)

1902 - First Electric Streetcar Service by the San Bernardino Valley Traction Company (SBVT)

1903 - First U. S. President to visit San Bernardino (Theodore Roosevelt)

1904 - First Permanent Library (Carnegie Library, located at 4th and D Streets)

1905 - First Harris Store Opens (located in the old armory at 462 Third Street)

1905 - First Police Department established under the new City Charter

1906 - First Juvenile Court (Committee organized to establish it)

1908 - First (and last) Festival of the Arrowhead Street Fair (May 19-23)


1910 - 1919 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1910 - First Automobile to Drive to Big Bear and Pinecrest, and return in one day

1910 - First Motorized Vehicle for the Fire Department (a Pope-Hartford Hose Wagon)

1910 - First Chamber of Commerce organized

1911 - First Commercial Flight (biplane flown by Didier Masson from Los Angeles to San Bernardino)

1911 - First "Red Cars" appear in San Bernardino when Pacific Electric buys San Bernardino Valley Traction Co.

1911 - First National Orange Show (opened March 6th in two tents on 4th and E Streets)

1913 - First Y.W.C.A. (5th and Arrowhead)

1914 - First Passenger Bus Line in California (San Bernardino Mountain Auto Stage)

1914 - First Pacific Electric "Red Car" begins operation between San Bernardino and Los Angeles (until 1941)

1916 - First Auto Garages in town


1920 - 1929 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1921 - First Permanent Jewish Synagogue (847 E Street)

1925 - First Civil Service Board appointment by the Mayor

1926 - First Junior College (San Bernardino Valley College)

1928 - First Movie shown at the California Theater ("Street Angel")

1929 - First Rail-to-Air Transfer in San Bernardino, from the "Los Angeles Limited" to a Goodyear Blimp


1930 - 1939 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1938 - First One-Way Police Radio used at Police Headquarters to dispatch calls

1938 - First Female Flight Instructor in the Country (Evelyn Pinchert "Pinky" Brier)

1939 - First Use of the current City Seal (designed by Lois Campbell)


1940 - 1949 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1941 - First Military Base opens (in 1950, it was renamed Norton Air Force Base)

1942 - First Black American Teacher in San Bernardino County (Dorothy Inghram)

1947 - First Black Police Officer joined the SBPD (Officer Johnny Epps)

1948 - First McDonald's Restaurant in the Country opened (14th and E Streets)

1948 - First Bell's Burgers opened by Glen Bell (founder of Taco Bell in 1962)


1950 - 1959 Firsts in San Bernardino:


1952 - First San Bernardino resident to earn the Medal of Honor (Joseph C. Rodriguez, Korea, 21 May 1951)

1952 - First Baker's Double Burgers Restaurant in the Country (was at 164 W. Highland)

1954 - First Taco Tia in the Country (on Base Line, next to Sage's Market)


1960 - 1969 Firsts in San Bernardino:

1963 - First Helicopter used by the San Bernardino Fire Department

1964 - First Rolling Stones' concert in America (at National Orange Show's Swing Auditorium, June 5th)

1965 - First State University founded in San Bernardino (CSUSB)

1965 - First Shopping Mall Under One Roof in the City (Inland Center Mall)


1970 - 1979 Firsts in San Bernardino:

1971 - First Game Played at the new Western Regional Little League Park

1976 - First Parametic Unit of the San Bernardino Fire Department begins service

1977 - First Time San Bernardino was named an "All-American City"

1978 - First Rose Parade Float Trophy (Pioneers Trophy) won by the City of San Bernardino


1980 - 1989 Firsts in San Bernardino:

1985 - First Woman Mayor elected (Evelyn Wilcox)


1990 - 1999 Firsts in San Bernardino:

1990 - First Route 66 Rendezvous (300 cars and 4,000 spectators)

1993 - First Metrolink Train (Metrolink No. 865 with a test train) that arrived in San Bernardino

1997 - First Time San Bernardino Fire Department's 1890 Hose Wagon was in the Rose Parade

1997 - First Latina elected Mayor (Judith Valles)


2000 - 2019 Firsts in San Bernardino:


2002 - First Winter Olympic Gold Medal (won by a San Bernardino native, Derek Parra)

2006 - First Police Helicopter (a Robinson R44) joined the SBPD Patrol Fleet

2008 - First History and Railroad Museum in the City, opened on July 12th (1170 West Third Street)

2008 - First Train to use the new BNSF Third Main Track over the Cajon Pass

2012 - First Time the City of San Bernardino files an Emergency Petition for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy

2014 - First Bus operates on the new sbX (Rapid Transit Service) Green Line Route