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.
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)
A Replacement for
Mudge Inspection Car
Built in 1917
Engine: Two-Cycle & Air-Cooled