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The First Railroads

(Railroad History - Ingersoll)

For many years San Bernardino county awaited the coming of her first railroad. It was early apparent that some time a transcontinental line would be built from the lower Mississippi river to the Pacific coast. San Diego people felt confident that this line would make its terminus on San Diego harbor —"the only harbor worthy of the name south of San Francisco'': while the residents of San Bernardino were equally sure that the road must come through one of her two great gateways—San Gorgonio or Cajon.

Cajon Pass, one of the two passes into San Bernardino and Southern California
Cajon Pass

In 1867 the Memphis & El Paso road, with J. C. Fremont, president, was incorporated, to reach the Pacific coast. Work was begun at the eastern end of the line, but the scheme fell through. A line was surveyed from San Diego to the Gila river at one time, but never got further than the survey. There was much talk of the International line, to run in a direct course from San Diego eastward, partly on Mexican territory; surveys and concessions were made—and that was all. It was confidently expected that the Texas & Pacific railway, which was organized by Tom Scott, of financial fame, in 1869, would solve the railway problem for Southern California. San Diego made large grants of land and of harbor front to this corporation, and work was actually begun and ten miles of roadbed graded, after an elaborate ceremony in which the first shovelful of dirt was turned. But the financial panic of 1873 paralyzed this scheme also.

Of local roads, dozens were built—upon paper. A narrow gauge line between San Diego and San Bernardino direct was surveyed and seemed at one time an assured fact. In August. 1868, the citizens of San Bernardino assembled at the Court House and resolved: "That we citizens here assembled are in favor of building a railway from the landing at Anaheim to this place, and pledge ourselves and our individual exertions to enlist the county in its favor, and obtain an appropriation of at least $5,000.00 per mile for every mile built in the county, by the issue of county bonds for this purpose, to be issued under and by virtue of an act of Legislature passed for that purpose." This resolution was signed by all of the leading citizens of the county, but it seems to nave had no effect—the road did not materialize.

The Guardian of October 2nd, 1868, contains the following- railroad "news": Pacific and San Bernardino Railroad Company.

"Such is the name of a company incorporated September 23, 1868, with a capital stock of two millions, the object of which is to connect San Bernardino with the sea, and while developing the resources of the country along its line, will attract the entire freighting business of Arizona and Southern Utah, which for some time has been diverted from us by the high prices charged by our teamsters for freighting, and carried by vessels via the Gulf of California and Colorado river. The books of tbe company are now open in San Francisco, and the stock is being taken very liberally. A set of subscription books will be sent to this place by the next steamer, and our citizens, possessing the means, will no doubt interest themselves in this enterprise and invest in some shares. "The incorporation of the company has been delayed by the absence of Mr. Ben Holladay in Oregon. But now we may look for a speedy prosecution of the enterprise. Gen. Davidson, writing in regard to the road, says: 'I look upon the road as a fixed fact.' So do we, and consequently look forward to the future of San Bernardino with anticipations of seeing her become what nature has established the foundation for, a thriving interior city, drawing to her the trade and traffic of Arizona and Southern Utah, and producing from her own fertile hills, valleys and plains, a surplus of products that will attract wealth and prosperity to her producers. We are not informed when the work will be commenced, but presume as soon as the necessary arrange- ments are effected the ground will be broken and grading began. Once the ground broken, the grading and laying of the rails will be pushed on rapidly, until San Bernardino will stand as it were on the sea shore, and gather into her lap the wealth that comes floating on its bosom."

And this is the beginning and the end of the "Pacific & San Bernardino Railroad Company," so far as we have been able to find it.


The First Railroads

L.A. & Independence

The Southern Pacific

Southern Routes

Southern Pacific

The Santa Fe System

Turning Point

The Proposal

Railroad Building

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