Firsts in San Bernardino

1938 - First Female

Flight Instructor in the 

Country (Evelyn 

Pinchert "Pinky" Brier).




Wednesday 9 AM - Noon
Saturday 10 AM - 3 PM

FREE Admission

FREE Parking

FREE Tours

1170 W. Third Street
San Bernardino, CA 92410

Map & Directions

San Bernardino
Historical &
Pioneer Society

P.O. Box 875
San Bernardino, CA 92402


(909) 888-3634 


Depot & Museum Tour

April 04, 2018

Tours will  be conducted

on  the  first Wednesday of

each month at 10:00 am.

Call (909)  888-3634  for

a reservation.  FREE


Group Tours

For a Group Tour on

Saturday or any other 

day call (909) 888-3634.


Virtual Museum Tour

Click here for visual tour

of the museum.


Photo Histories

Click here to view local San

Bernardino and railroad

photographic histories.


Click here for the Santa 

Fe Railway Historical and

Modeling Society.


Norton AFB Museum

Now Open:

Thursday 10:00 to 2:00

Saturday  10:00 to 2:00



Next Meeting at Coco's

The next meeting of the

National Association of

Retired & Veteran Railway

Employees will be held

at Coco's Restaurant.





Steam Locomotion (1769 - 1927)


Click here to view a short Photo History of Steam Locomotives that was extracted from The History of Transportation, published by The Railway Education Bureau in 1927.


The First Train Arrives in San Bernardino

For over 11 months the Southern Pacific Railroad prevented a train from entering San Bernardino from the South.  Southern Pacific used legal and physical means to prevent the train from crossing the SP east-west track at the Colton Crossing. 

Virgil Earp (a special agent for Southern Pacific and later the first City Marshall of Colton) led the group that prevented California Southern Railroad from heading north to San Bernardino.

On September 13, 1883, after a court order was issued and an "at grade" crossing (called a "frog") was installed, the first train arrived in San Bernardino from National City (just south of San Diego).  The train, pulled by Engine No. 4,  was operated by the California Southern Railroad, later owned by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

Fred T. Perris, a civil engineer and surveyor for the railroad, was at the whistle.  (Photograph by H. B. Wesner) 

Note: On August 28, 2013, a public celebration was held to dedicate the opening of the new Colton Crossing Rail-to-Rail Grade Separation.  After 130 years the east-west Union Pacific Railroad tracks were raised to pass over the north-south BNSF Railroad tracks.  This will alleviate congestion at the crossing, which accommodates more that 100 trains each day.


DVDs and Slide Shows Playing in the Museum

History of Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls

DVD - Railroad Handcar in the Movies

San Bernardino Society of California Pioneers

DVD's of Various Trains and Railroads

History of San Bernardino Fire Department

Santa Fe Shops in San Bernardino
DVD - The History of BNSF & the Santa Fe

DVD -The History of Pacific Electric

Santa Fe Depot (1886-1916)


Chair from Opera House is in the Museum










This chair was in the personal box of James Waters, who is pictured at the right.  James Waters, along with Herman Brinkmeyer (seen on the balcony of the Opera House), built the San Bernardino Opera House in 1882, four years before Los Angeles had an opera house of its own. 

The Opera House featured everything from Italian Grand Operas and Shakespeare's plays, to musicals and magicians, and to vaudeville and silent movies.  All of the greats performed in San Bernardino's finest theater, including Lillie Langtry, Al Jolson, Lillian Russell, Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, Sarah Bernhardt, Edwin Booth, the Barrymores and many more. 

The Opera House was located on the east side of D Street between 3rd and 4th Streets and was torn down in 1927.  

The chair and the painting of James Waters were donated to the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society by Mary Renter, the great-great-granddaughter of James Waters.

Click here for a detailed look at the Opera House.

Click here for the story of Jim Waters, from mountainman to builder of an opera house.


Clocks that Keep on Ticking in the Museum

Santa Fe Standard Clock that was in the Roundhouse Office in 1916                                         Clock from the Santa Fe Wire Chief's Office (Telegraph Office) located at the west end of the Depot



Small Santa Fe Clock


Museum Houses 19th Century Gas Lamp


Gas and Electric Lights Come to the City of San Bernardino 

In 1881 the National Gas Company of New York, secured a franchise and put in an extensive [gas] plant.

November 2nd, 1881, the city [of San Bernardino] was first lighted by gas and the Times of that date declares: "Gas under the new dispensation was a brilliant success as was abundantly made manifest last evening."

[In 1891] the city was first lighted by electricity, the San Antonio Electric Co. putting in from 500 to 800 incandescent lights.

(Ingersoll's Century Annuals of San Bernardino County, 1769-1904, pp. 169 & 383)


Mudge Motor Car

  A Replacement for

       the Handcar

Mudge Inspection Car


Built in 1917


Engine: Two-Cycle &     Air-Cooled


The Museum's Railroad Inspection and Work Vehicles

Handcar - Popular 1880's to 1920's19th Century Sheffield VelocipedeKalamazoo Inspection Car Used by Western UnionGasoline Powered M-19 Fairmont Motorcar


Gold Scale from Starke's Hotel now in the Museum



This gold-weighting scale, used in the late 1800s, sat behind the registration counter of Starke's Hotel.  The hotel was built in 1880 by Augustus Starke, replacing the 1858 Pine's Hotel that had been built on the same site.

The Starke's Hotel, shown in the above photograph, was the first two-story brick hotel in San Bernardino and was located at the southeast corner of 3rd Street and Arrowhead Avenue.

The gold scale was donated to the San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum in 2008 by William Starke, the great-great-grandson of Augustus Starke.


Antique Fire Department Apparatus in the Museum

1853 Hook & Ladder; San Bernardino owned one in the late 1800's c. 1860 - Four Wheeled "Hose Carriage", Built by George Ruhl


1878 Hose Cart used by San Bernardino Fire DepartmentSan Bernardino 1890 Hose Wagon as Seen in Eight Rose Parades



Click here to see a glimpse of the Fred Harvey Company and its role in San Bernardino as depicted in one of our Photo Histories.  

View a Harvey Girl uniform and a variety of Harvey artifacts on your next visit to the Museum.