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2000 - 2019 Historic Dates in San Bernardino and The Railroad:


February 19, 2002 - Derek Parra

Derek Parra won the gold medal in the 1,500 meter speed skating event at the Winter Olympics on February 19, 2002.  His winning speed of 1:43.95 set a new world record (although it has since been broken, it is still an Olympic record).

Ten days before, while in Salt Lake City, Utah, Derek won the silver medal in the 5,000-meter race in the time of 6:17.98, an American record.

Derek was born in San Bernardino on March 15, 1970, and graduated from Eisenhower High School in Rialto. At 14 he started roller skating at San Bernardino's Stardust Roller Rink (21st and Lugo).  He moved from roller skates to in-line skates and by 1996 Derek had earned 18 individual gold medals and had become the most decorated athlete at the 1995 Pan-American Games.

After switching to ice skates, Derek became the 2000 U.S. all-round overall champion, the 2001 U.S. national champion and the 2001 U.S. North American champion and won the silver medal in the 1,500 meter race at the 2001 World Single Distance Championships.

In 2002 he was one of eight athletes chosen to carry the flag that hung above Ground Zero in New York after the attack of September 11th.  

Derek was chosen as the U.S. speed skating national all-around coach for the 2010 Olympics and is a member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Derek Parra is the first-ever Mexican American to compete in, and medal, in the Olympic Winter Games.  He now teaches at the Utah Olympic Oval's Learn to Skate program, the same oval in which he won gold.  


October 16, 2003 - President George W. Bush

(Photograph courtesy of the U. S. White House)

President George W. Bush met privately with California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday, October 16, 2003, at Riverside's Mission Inn.

At San Bernardino's Radisson Hotel (formerly the Red Lion and recently called the Clarion Hotel) the President addressed a group of VIPs discussing the economy and terrorism.

George W. Bush, the son of a former President, graduated from Yale and Harvard, was an F-102 pilot in the Texas Guard, owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, and former governor of Texas before becoming President in 2001.  

(Theodore Roosevelt was the first Prtesident to visit San Bernardino.)

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


July 12, 2008 - History and Railroad Museum

*  The San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum opened its doors to the public on July 12, 2008.  

*  It is located in the San Bernardino train depot in the former Santa Fe Baggage Room and Railroad Express Agency Room.

*  The museum is a joint operation of two 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations: the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society and the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society (operators ofthe Santa Fe Steam Engine 3751).

*  Within the museum, the Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society (SFRH&MS) maintains the Western Archives of the Santa Fe Railroad.

*  All facets of the museum are conducted by volunteers, as there are no paid employees.

*  Click here for a Virtual Tour of the Museum.


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)


May 20, 2010 - Bicentennial

We are looking East from the northwest corner of Inland Center Drive and I Street, one block West of the 215 Freeway. (Photo by Steve Shaw)

The 1910 Centennial Cornerstone sits to the left of the 2010 Bicentennial Monument.  Both monuments honor Father Francisco Dumetz, a Spanish Franciscan missionary from Mission San Gabriel, who named the valley San Bernardino on May 20, 1810.  

The 1910 Cornerstone was originally located a few hundred feet to the North and West of its current position. It was to be the cornerstone of a new chapel and museum to be built on Bunker Hill (De Sienna Springs), however funding never materialized and the cornerstone sat alone in a grassy area for years and then was put into storage.

In 1976, the polished granite stone was relocated to the curb on Inland Center Drive, in front of St. Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church.  There it remained until 2007, when a vehicle damaged the foundation and the stone was moved to the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society.

On Thursday, May 20, 2010, the restored Centennial Cornerstone and a new Bicentennial Monument were dedicated near the corner of Inland Center Drive and I Street.

(For more information see John Weeks' book, San Bernardino Bicentennial, 1810 - 2010.)

Note: For related stories see "May 20, 1810"; "May 20, 1910" and "May 20, 1960".


August 1, 2012 - San Bernardino Files for Bankruptcy

               San Bernardino - Bankrupt!

*  On July 10, 2012, in light of a projected $46 million budget shortfall, the San Bernardino City Council voted to authorize the City Attorney to prepare for a Chapter 9 filing of municipal bankruptcy.

*  Resolution No. 2012-205, adopted on July 18, 2012, declared a fiscal emergency in the City.

*  Resolution No. 2012-206, adopted on July 18, 2012, authorized the filing of a petition under Chapter 9 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

*  On August 1, 2012, the City of San Bernardino filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

*  The Chapter 9 filing will allow the City to continue to provide essential services to the community while it takes measures to restructure its finances.

*  In a Chapter 9 bankruptcy there is no provision in the law for liquidation of the assets of the municipality and distribution of the proceeds to creditors.

*  On June 15, 2017, the Third Amended Plan of Adjustment of Debts became effective, thus marking the completion of the City's bankruptcy process.

Click here for more information.

May 1, 2014 - Justice Center (New Courthouse)

The San Bernardino Justice Center (new Courthouse) is located on the SE corner of Third St. & Arrowhead Ave. (Photo courtesy of Steve Shaw)

 Previous San Bernardino Courthouses:

*  1854 - 1858  SE Third St. and Arrowhead Ave., in the Mormon Council House (an adobe building)

*  1874 - 1923  Court Street, between D and E Streets

*  1898 - 1928  SE corner of Court and E Streets

*  1926 - 9999  351 North Arrowhead Avenue (listed on the National Register of Historic Places)  

The new San Bernardino Courthouse (Justice Center), 247 West Third Street:

*  The $340 million facility consists of two elements:

-  A three-story section for public access to the clerk's offices, jury assembly, and support spaces

-  An 11-story, 200 foot-tall tower for the courtrooms and judicial offices

*  Contains 361,700 square feet and sits on a seven acre site, formerly occupied by Caltrans

*  Features 35 courtrooms, 36 Judges' chambers and two hearing rooms

*  Serves the criminal, traffic, family law, probate and dependency divisions of the Superior Court

*  Contains space for administration, self-help, jury services and sheriff's operations and holding

Dedication ceremonies took place on Thursday, May 1, 2014, featuring California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Presiding Judge Marsha Slough and about 200 dignitaries.  It opened for business on May 12, 2014.

The 1926 courthouse was retrofitted for earthquake-safety and the original arched ceiling and wooden-beamed courtrooms were restored.  Its 11 courtrooms will be used for family law and probate cases.


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 United States 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.