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San Bernardino (City), California

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Official Website

San Bernardino is the county seat of San Bernardino County.

History

The city of San Bernardino, California, occupies much of the San Bernardino Valley, which indigenous tribes originally referred to as "The Valley of the Cupped Hand of God". The Tongva Indians also called the San Bernardino area "Wa'aach" in their language. Upon seeing the immense geological arrowhead-shaped rock formation on the side of the San Bernardino Mountains, they found the hot and cold springs to which the "arrowhead" seemed to point.

Politana was the first Spanish settlement in the San Bernardino Valley, named for Bernardino of Siena. Politana was established May 20, 1810, as a mission chapel and supply station by the Mission San Gabriel in the ranchería of the Guachama Indians that lived on the bluff that is now known as Bunker Hill, near Lytle Creek. Two years later the settlement was destroyed by superstitious local tribesmen, following powerful earthquakes that shook the region. Several years later, the Serrano and Mountain Cahuilla rebuilt the Politana rancheria, and in 1819 invited the missionaries to return to the valley. They did and established the San Bernardino de Sena Estancia. Serrano and Cahuilla people inhabited Politana until long after the 1830s decree of secularization and the 1842 inclusion into the Rancho San Bernardino land grant of the José del Carmen Lugo family.

The city of San Bernardino is one of the oldest communities in the state of California, and in its present-day location, was not largely settled until 1851, after California became a state. The first Anglo-American colony was established by pioneers associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormons. Following the Mormon colonists purchase of Rancho San Bernardino, and the establishment of the town of San Bernardino in 1851, San Bernardino County was formed in 1853 from parts of Los Angeles County. Mormons laid out the town based on the "City of Zion" plan which was typical of Mormon urban planning. Cities are typically laid out with North-South, East-West streets in predetermined city block sizes with wide streets. Often cities are laid out with an alphabetical and numerical system typical for Mormon towns, with streets running alphabet letters for North-South streets and numbers for East-West streets. Mormon colonists developed irrigated, commercial farming and lumbering, supplying agricultural produce and lumber throughout Southern California. The city was officially incorporated in 1857. Later that year, most of the colonists were recalled by Brigham Young in 1857 due to the Utah War. Once highly regarded in early California, news of the Mountain Meadows Massacre poisoned attitudes toward the Mormons. Some Mormons would stay in San Bernardino and some later returned from Utah, but a real estate consortium from El Monte and Los Angeles bought most of the lands of the old rancho and of the departing colonists. They sold these lands to new settlers who came to dominate the culture and politics in the county and San Bernardino became a typical American frontier town. Many of the new land owners disliked the sober Mormons, indulging in drinking at saloons now allowed in the town. Disorder, fighting and violence in the vicinity became common, reaching a climax in the 1859 Ainsworth - Gentry Affair.

In 1860 a gold rush began in the mountains nearby with the discovery of gold by William F. Holcomb in Holcomb Valley early 1860. Another strike followed in the upper reach of Lytle Creek. By the 1860s, San Bernardino had also became an important trading hub in Southern California. The city already on the Los Angeles – Salt Lake Road, became the starting point for the Mojave Road from 1858 and Bradshaw Trail from 1862 to the mines along the Colorado River and within the Arizona Territory in the gold rush of 1862-1864.

Near San Bernardino is a naturally formed arrowhead-shaped rock formation on the side of a mountain. It measures 1375 feet by 449 feet. According to the Native American legend regarding the landmark arrowhead, an arrow from Heaven burned the formation onto the mountainside in order to show tribes where they could be healed. During the mid-19th century, "Dr." David Noble Smith claimed that a saint-like being appeared before him and told of a far-off land with exceptional climate and curative waters, marked by a gigantic arrowhead. Smith's search for that unique arrowhead formation began in Texas, and eventually ended at Arrowhead Springs in California in 1857. By 1889, word of the springs, along with the hotel on the site (and a belief in the effect on general health of the water from the springs) had grown considerably. Hotel guests often raved about the crystal-clear water from the cold springs, which prompted Seth Marshall to set up a bottling operation in the hotel's basement. By 1905, water from the cold springs was being shipped to Los Angeles under the newly created "Arrowhead" trademark.

Indigenous people of the San Bernardino Valley and Mountains were collectively identified by Spanish explorers in the 19th century as Serrano, a term meaning highlander. Serrano living near what is now Big Bear Lake were called Yuhaviatam, or "People of the Pines". In 1866, to clear the way for settlers and gold miners, state militia conducted a 32-day campaign slaughtering men, women, and children. Yuhaviatam leader Santos Manuel guided his people from their ancient homeland to a village site in the San Bernardino foothills. The United States government in 1891 established it as a tribal reservation and named it after Santos Manuel.

In 1867, the first Chinese immigrants arrived in San Bernardino.

In 1883, California Southern Railroad established a rail link through San Bernardino between Los Angeles and the rest of the country.

In 1905, the city of San Bernardino passed its first charter.

World War II brought Norton Air Force Base.

In 1940, Richard and Maurice McDonald founded McDonald's, along with its innovative restaurant concept, in the city.

In 1980, the Panorama Fire destroyed 284 homes.

San Bernardino won the All-America City award in 1977, but the city subsequently went into a long decline and has only recently begun to recover from the three recessions of the late 20th/early 21st centuries.

In 1994, Norton Air Force Base closed to become San Bernardino International Airport.

In October 2003, another wildfire, the Old Fire, destroyed over 1,000 homes.

In August 2012, San Bernardino filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, with more than $1 billion in debt. The move froze the city's payments to creditors, including its pension payments to the California Public Employees Retirement System for nearly a year. Key changes the city made during the bankruptcy process included: outsourcing its fire department to the county and re-writing the city's charter to provide a more clear chain of command. Following a judge's approval, the city emerged from bankruptcy in February 2017, making it one of the longest municipal bankruptcies in the United States.

Links

Wikipedia

California Southern Railroad

Norton AFB

McDonald's Restaurant

The Panorama Fire of 1980

San Bernardino Terrorist Attack of 2015

San Bernardino School Shooting of 2017

The National Orange Show

The San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum