Firsts in San Bernardino

1997 - First Time that

the San Bernardino Fire

Department's 1890 Hose

Wagon was in the Rose

Parade.

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HOURS:

Wednesday 9 AM - Noon
Saturday 10 AM - 3 PM

FREE Admission

FREE Parking

FREE Tours

LOCATION:
1170 W. Third Street
San Bernardino, CA 92410

Map & Directions

MAILING ADDRESS:
San Bernardino
Historical &
Pioneer Society

P.O. Box 875
San Bernardino, CA 92402

EMAIL:
sbrrdays@me.com

PHONE:
(909) 888-3634 

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Depot & Museum Tour

January 03, 2018

Tours will  be conducted

on  the  first Wednesday of

each month at 10:00 am.

Call (909)  888-3634  for

a reservation.  FREE

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Group Tours

For a Group Tour on

Saturday or any other 

day call (909) 888-3634.

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Virtual Museum Tour

Click here for visual tour

of the museum.

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Photo Histories

Click here to view local San

Bernardino and railroad

photographic histories.

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Click here for the Santa 

Fe Railway Historical and

Modeling Society.

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Norton AFB Museum

Now Open:

Thursday 10:00 to 2:00

Saturday  10:00 to 2:00

More...

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Next Meeting at Coco's

The next meeting of the

National Association of

Retired & Veteran Railway

Employees will be held

at Coco's Restaurant.

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Monday
Jan272014

January 01, 1885 - Horse Cars 

The driver shown here in 1889 is Lucas Westhoff. (Photo from San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society)

Public transportation in San Bernardino began with simple horse-drawn streetcars (they were called horse cars even though they were usually pulled by mules).

In 1885, the City Street Railroad Company was organized and their horse cars traveled up and down "D" Street and along the Third Street, providing service from the Santa Fe Depot to downtown San Bernardino.

The mules often balked at their heavy tasks making for noisy rides and sometimes unpredictable schedules. 

In 1901, the San Bernardino Valley Traction Company (SBVT) was incorporated, becoming the first company to operate electric streetcars in San Bernardino.  It was not long after that the horse cars began to disappear.

In 1904, Judge Oster dissolved the City Street Railroad Company.

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On January 12, 1888, the San Bernardino, Arrowhead & Waterman Railroad Company began construction of a railroad line from San Bernardino to Harlem Springs (hot springs and amusement park).

In June of that year, the company secured a franchise for a horse car line to transport passengers from 7th Street and A Street (now Sierra Way) to downtown San Bernardino.

By November 1888, the horse car line was completed.  Two horse cars were bought for $1,100 each and two mules were obtained.

On March 6, 1893, operations on the narrow gauge railroad to Harlem Springs were suspended.  In January 1894, the horse car line, starved for passengers, was abandoned as being unprofitable.

Saturday
Jan252014

January 28, 1855 - Panama Railroad

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, January 1859

*  Why do we care about a railroad in Panama?

*  On January 24, 1848, John Marshall discovered gold in the American River, near Coloma, California. This was the beginning of the Gold Rush of '49.

*  Miners flocked to California from all across the country, at times traveling months overland.

*  From the East coast, they would often travel by sea, sailing around Cape Horn at the tip of South America or to Panama and then through the jungle to the Pacific and another boat ride to California.

*  The Panama Railroad changed all that...

*  Work began in May 1850, to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by a railroad covering 47 miles of jungle, rivers and swamps, often in drenching rains.

*  Sand-flies, snakes, poisonous insects and alligators were the least of the problems. Thousands of men died due to cholera, dysentery, yellow fever and smallpox.

*  Despite the loss of life, the intolerable working conditions, the logistic difficulties and the immense engineering obstacles, the railroad began operation on January 28, 1855 (some 28 years before the first train arrived in San Bernardino).

*  The railroad was an immediate success and later played a vital role in the construction of the Panama Canal. 

Friday
Jan242014

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.

Thursday
Jan232014

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.

Monday
Jan202014

July 17, 1955 - Disneyland Railroad

On July 17, 1955, The Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad began operations in Anaheim, California. On that day, the "C. K. Holiday" and the "E. P. Ripley" started transporting passengers around Disneyland Park.  

No. 1, "C. K. Holiday" (Founder of Atchison & Topeka Railroad) - Built in Disney Studios in 1955, a 5/8 scale 4-4-0 steam locomotive.

No. 2, "E. P. Ripley" (First President of AT&SF Railroad) - Built in Disney Studios in 1955, a 5/8 scale 4-4-0 steam locomotive.

Disneyland's narrow gauge railroad was called the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad from 1955 until 1974 (when Santa Fe withdrew its sponsorship).

Currently there are five steam locomotives, with the first four named after former Santa Fe CEOs. 

All of the engines are real operating steam locomotives.  Currently the locomotives are fueled by biodiesel, blended primarily from used cooking oil and a soy based fuel.

No. 3, "Fred Gurley" (In 1958 Gurley was the Chairman of AT&SF) - A Tank Locomotive (2-4-4T) built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1894.

On March 28, 1958, the No. 3, "Fred Gurley" was added to the railroad.  

Also in 1958, the Grand Canyon Diorama, painted by Delmer J. Yoakum, was added along the trains' route between Tomorrowland and Main Street.  At that time it was the longest diorama in the world, 306 feet long and 34 feet high.  "On the Trail", from Frede Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite is piped throughout the train as it enters the diorama. 

No. 4, "Ernest S. Marsh" (Santa Fe's President in 1959) - Originally built by Baldwin as a 0-4-0 Saddle-Tank in 1925. It now operates as a 2-4-0. 

On July 25, 1959, the fourth train was put into operation, pulled by the "Ernest S. Marsh".

In 1966, the Grand Canyon Diorama was expanded with a prehistoric theme (including Audio-Animatronic dinosaurs) and thus became the "Grand Canyon/Primeval World" diorama.

No. 5, "Ward Kimball" (A Disney Animator) - Built by Baldwin in 1902 for a Plantation in Louisiana. It is a 2-4-4 Locomotive.

The "Ward Kimball" went into service on June 25, 2005, as part of the park's 50th anniversary celebration. The new locomotive's headlight features a gold leaf silhouette of Jiminy Cricket, based on a drawing of the character Kimball made shortly before his death.

Ward Kimball was railroad enthusiast and an animator who worked on some of Disney's most famous movies. He was affectionally known as one of Disney's Nine Old Men.

Sunday
Jan192014

Pioneer Women of San Bernardino

Top Row:

Jerusha Bemis (1799-1872)

Clare Cherry (1919-1990)

Eliza Robbins Crafts (1825-1910)

Janet Miles (1901-2008)

Maria Armenta Bermdez (1806-1858) 

Middle Row:

Mary Bennett Goodcell (1849-1909)

Sarah Jane Rousseau (1816-1872)

Lizzy Flake Rowan (1834-1908)

Mary Wixom Crandall (1834-1927)

Caterina Croce Massetti (1877-1946)

Bottom Row:

Alice Rowan Johnson (1868-1911)

Arda M. Haenszel (1910-2001)

Doroothy Inghram (1905-2012)

Pinky Brier (1909-2008)

Mourning Burnham Glenn (1814-1905)

 

Click here to read the stories of all of these pioneering women and their contributions to San Bernardino.