San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum - Home

Firsts in San Bernardino

1887 - First Santa Fe

Train to operate on the 

San Bernardino and Los

Angeles Railway.




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

March 4, 2020

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






Upcoming Events:

The Museum is open on:

Wednesday 9:00 to 12:00

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

February 22, 2020 - Roundhouse Gang Model Railroad Swap Meet

April 25, 2020 - Western Prototype Modelers Meet


Presidents Who Visited San Bernardino

Below are the United States Presidents who have come to  San Bernardino and the date of their visit:

(Official White House Portraits)

President Theodore Roosevelt - May 7, 1903President Howard Taft- April 16, 1912


President Lyndon Johnson - 1925 and October 1964












President Dwight Eisenhower - 1953 to 1961

President Ronald Reagan - November 1, 1988

President William Clinton - February 14, 1995President George W. Bush - October 16, 2003President Barak Obama - December 19, 2015  







































Click here to view details of each President's vsisit to San Bernardino.


February 22, 2020 - Roundhouse Gang Swap Meet



February 21, 1804 - World's First Steam Locomotive

Above is an 1/2 inch scale model (built in 1888) of Richard Trevithick's 1804 locomotive. Courtesy of the National Museum of American History.

It represents the world's first steam powered locomotive used for transportation on rails.    

On February 21, 1804, Richard Trevithick's unnamed steam locomotive hauled a train with five loaded cars along the tramway of the Penydarren Ironworks, in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.         

Richard Trevithick (1771 – 1833) was a British inventor and mining engineer from Cornwall, England. His most significant contributions were the development of the first high-pressure steam engine and the first full-scale working railroad steam locomotive.


February 22, 1878 - McCall's Horse Trough

Carved on the side of this historic limestone, horse-watering trough is the following:


John McCall

Feb. 22, A.D. 1878

Horse Shoe'er




*  It was originally located in front of John McCall's blacksmith shop on the east side of D Street.

*  When disastrous fires in 1878-1879 destroyed many San Bernardino buildings on D Street it was moved to the wagon shop of Joe S. Bright on Third Street near G Street.

*  When the wagon shop closed the trough was moved to the Bright's home on Eighth Street.

*  Later the trough was donated to San Bernardino's Pioneer Society and it rested in front of the Log Cabin in Pioneer Park until a fire destroyed the cabin in 1973.

*  The trough was relocated to the Native Sons of the Golden West in San Bernardino where it remained in storage for 30 years.

*  It was then moved to its current location, at the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society at 8th and D Streets.

*  A formal dedication ceremony was held on February 22nd, 2003, exactly 125 years after the trough was inscribed in 1878.

Click here for a short story about John McCall's horse Trough.


February 2, 2001 - Santa Fe Depot Declared Historic

One of 39 Photographs from the Santa Fe Depot Application for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

* The current Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino, built in 1918, was considered to be Santa Fe's finest station in the West.

* At a cost of $800,000, this 57,000 square foot building featured mission-style architecture with domes, towers and a tile roof.

* Santa Fe closed its San Bernardino operations in 1992; all the buildings were demolished, except the Depot.

* On February 2, 2001, the National Park Service entered the Depot in the National Register of Historic Places.

Click here to view the text of the Santa Fe Depot Application for historic status.

Click here to view photographs from the Application for historic status.


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.


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.