Firsts in San Bernardino

1839 - First Time that

"San Bernardino" was

annotated on a Map of

the United States (by

David Burr).




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

February 06, 2019

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



N.A.R.V.R.E. Meeting

at the Mexico Cafe

The next meeting of the

National Association of

Retired & Veteran Railway

Employees will be held

at the Mexico Cafe.





Upcoming Events:

The Museum is open on:

Wednesday 9:00 to 12:00

Saturday 10:00 to 3:00  (Virtual Museum Tour)


January 28, 1830 - Old Spanish Trail

In 1821 Mexico gained independence from Spain and eight years later traders from New Mexico, began the long trek to Los Angeles, California, to exchange goods and return to New Mexico where they could sell them for a profit. 

They carried woolen goods and a variety of animal hides to exchange for California horses and mules.

The first caravan, led by Antonio Armijo, traveled about three months from Abiquiu (Northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico) to reach Southern California.  They crossed the Cajon Pass and reached San Bernardino on January 28, 1830, and here they rested for the remainder of the day before proceeding to Mission San Gabriel and Pueblo de Los Angeles.  

This was the first of many caravans on what soon became known as the Old Spanish Trail.

Click here for the National Park Service brochure on the Old Spanish Trail.


November 16, 1854 - First Street Map of San Bernardino

In 1853, Henry G. Sherwood laid out a plan for the City of San Bernardino, much like a miniature Salt Lake City.

It was approved by the Supervisors on November 16, 1854.

The town was one mile square, in blocks containing 8 acres, with wide streets running at right angles. 

The north-south streets were given Mormon names which continued for years, then were changed to "letters". 

The east-west streets were numbered and their numbers remain the same today as they were in 1853 with the exception of 1st Street which is now called Rialto Avenue. 

A block-square public park (later called Pioneer Park) was established in the center of the town.

Town Creek and Warm Creek zigzag through the eastern half of town.


February 08, 1911 - Pacific Electric

In 1885, the San Bernardino Street Railway started operations with a Horse (actually a Mule) Car. 

In 1888 the San Bernardino & Redlands Railway established a route between the two cities.

In 1902 the San Bernardino Valley Traction Company began operations with the first electric streetcar line in San Bernardino.

On February 8, 1911, the Pacific Electric (PE) bought the San Bernardino Valley Traction Company.

PE, with its famous Red Cars, expanded its operations to over 1,100 miles of track in Southern California and provided service between San Bernardino and Los Angeles from 1914 to 1941.

In the above photograph the Pacific Electric Red Car #1299 is seen with San Bernardino's St. Bernard Hotel (577 West 3rd Street) in the background.

Click here to see a photo history of streetcars in San Bernardino.


January 20, 1935 - Lee Miles

Leland S. Miles, 1903-1937 (M. Marcelli photo)                Miles-Atwood Special (John Underwood photo)


On January 20, 1935, thousands of fans attended an air show at Shandin Hills Airport (located north of the the intersection of Cajon Blvd. and W. Highland Ave.).  Lee Miles, by now a nationally known racing and stunt pilot, thrilled the crowd with his aerobatics and upside down flying.

Lee was born in the same year that the Wright Brothers made their first powered flight and in 1909 Lee's family moved to San Bernardino, where Lee attended local schools.

After enlisting in the Army Air Service he received flight training at March Field, and left the service in 1921.

Lee did a lot of his early flying out of a field near the corner of Highland and Mt. Vernon. It was here that Lee taught Leon Atwood how to fly.  Later Mr. Atwood became Lee's financial backer and partner in his racing exploits.

Lee loved flying and participated in every aspect of aviation.  He was a flight instructor, charter operator, did movie work, was an airport manager and airline pilot to mention a few.  His passion, however, was building and racing airplanes.

Click here to view Dick Molony's story of Lee Miles' flying exploits.


January 27, 1993 - First Metrolink in San Bernardino

(Photo courtesy of Craig Walker)
On January 27, 1993, Metrolink 865 (F59PH) arrived in San Bernardino with a test train to determine run times from Los Angeles to this Inland Empire City.  This was the first time that a Metrolink train was in San Bernardino.

Back on Tuesday, October 26, 1992, the first Metrolink trains began simultaneous operation on three lines:  Ventura, Santa Clarita and San Bernardino.  In reality, on that date the San Bernardino line only extended from Los Angeles Union Station to Pomona.

Regular service from San Bernardino to Los Angeles would not begin until May 17, 1993. The schedule included three morning trains, leaving at 5:25, 5:55 and 6:38 for Los Angeles and three trains leaving L. A. for San Bernardino at 4:35, 5:20 and 5:45.

On May 17, 1993, over 5,000 people rode the trains, maybe because the trips were free. However, by August of that year, the Metrolink system was handling 8,000 passengers a day, with San Bernardino ridership averaging over 3,000 a day, by far the busiest of the four Metro lines.