Firsts in San Bernardino

1990 - First Route 66

Rendezvous (300 cars

and 4,000 spectators).



Saturdays 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

November 01, 2017

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.





November 3, 2008 - Third Rail in Cajon Pass

On November 03, 2008, the final stretch of the new BNSF triple track over the Cajon Pass opened.

The Pass is located between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges, just north of the city of San Bernardino.  

The $90-million project added almost 16 miles of third main track and increased capacity on the route from 100 to 150 trains a day.

Over a four year period crews moved more than 1 million tons of earth, placed approximately 42,000 concrete railroad ties and laid more than 30 miles of steel rail.

The construction of this track represents the first additional BNSF main track through Cajon Pass since the second line was constructed in 1913 (the first track was laid in 1885).

(Courtesy of BNSF)


November 28, 1903 - Barney Oldfield

Barney Oldfield won his first race in 1902 in this Ford Race Car, "999". The car had a steering bar, not a steering wheel. (Henry Ford Collection)On November 28, 1903, Barney Oldfield, probably the most famous race car driver of his time, made his first appearance at Association Park in San Bernardino.

In January 1903 the San Bernardino Valley Traction Company (electric streetcar company) purchased the old Cole Racetrack on Mill Street near Waterman Avenue.  Renovation plans included a large grandstand, a baseball diamond and a football field.  The racetrack that had been used for horse racing was now to include automobile racing.  The racetrack was renamed Association Park.

Barney Oldfield, a bicycle racer since 1894, became a race car driver in 1902, when he participated in and won his first automobile race driving Henry Ford's first race car, the famous "No. 999".   Some of Oldfield's racing records:

*  In June 1903, he accomplished the first mile-a-minute performance in an automobile

*  In 1903 Oldfield became the AAA American National Champion

*  In 1905 he won the National Motor Car Championship 

*  In March 1910, he set a world speed record of 131.724 miles per hour

*  In May 1916, he became the first person to lap the Indianapolis Speedway at more than 100 mph

Barney Oldfield refused to wear uniforms, often chewed cigars while he drove, talked loudly and swore often. He took his race cars to county fairs and other venues and gave the folks a show they would never forget.

On January 24, 1909, Barney Oldfield again raced at Association Park.  This time Oldfield drove his Stearns Six-Cylinder "Big Ben" against Gus Seyfried and his famous "White Flyer".


December 15, 1851 - Fort San Bernardino

There are no photographs of the actual Mormon Stockade or what has commonly been called Fort San Bernardino.  What you see above is depiction of the fort from a 1976 painting by Hazel C. Olson.

When the Mormons arrived in San Bernardino there was great fear of an attack by the desert Indians.  On December 15, 1851, after only 20 days of construction, the settlers completed a stockade that measured 750 feet long, 320 feet wide and 12 feet high.

In addition to the homes, inside the fort was a stream, a meeting and school house, a wagon shop, the colony office, and a tithing and store house.

The fort was located at the site of the 1926 Court House at Arrowhead Avenue and Court Street. There never was an attack on the fort and in 1853 the Mormons began to develop a master plan for the town based on the map of Salt Lake City.  

The County of San Bernardino was created in 1853 and the City of San Bernardino was incorporated in 1854.

Click here for details of the fort and its occupants, as well as the first map of the City.


December 15, 1854 - Arcata & Mad River Railroad

* In 1854, on December 15, the railroad was incorporated as the Union Plank Walk, Rail Track & Wharf Co.

* In 1855, the railroad became California's first operational railroad. With a horse drawn car, it served local lumber mills and the port of Arcata (280 miles north of San Francisco).

* In 1875, the company bought its first steam locomotive. Over the years the company changed its name several times and expanded its local service.

* In 1881, the company became Arcata & Mad River Railroad, to connect the north end of Humboldt Bay with the north fork of Mad River.  

* In 1883, F. Korbel & Bros. (Francis, Anton, and Joseph Korbel), owners of the Humboldt Lumber Mill Company at North Fork (now Korbel), purchased the railroad.

* In 1903, F. Korbel & Bros. sold all of their Northern California holdings, including the railroad, to the Northern Redwood Lumber Company. 

* The winter storms of 1982/1983 destroyed the track in many places.  Repairs were made later in the year, about the same time the railroad raised its rates on traffic to the Eureka area.

* In 1985, the Arcata & Mad River Railroad shut down as shippers found trucking was now more economical.


Dec. 19, 2015 - President Barack Hussein Obama

On December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 others were injured in a terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.

On December 19, 2015, President and Mrs. Obama spent three hours in San Bernardino, consoling the surviving victims and the families of the deceased.  Later they meet with the first responders.

Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States.  He graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School.  He was a community organizer in Chicago before serving in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004.  He served in the U. S. Senate from 2005 to 2008 and was elected President in 2008 and 2012.

Click here for a history of the U. S. Presidents that have visited San Bernardino.


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.