The City of San Bernardino is one of the oldest communities in the State of California. Named for Bernardino of Siena on May 20, 1810, San Bernardino, in its present-day location, was not largely settled until 1851 when California entered the Union. The first Anglo-American colony was established by pioneers associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who would later be recalled in 1857 by Brigham Young. During the interim, the city was officially incorporated in the year 1857. Soon afterward, San Bernardino became an important trading hub in Southern California.
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 of the water from the springs on general health) 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.
The California Southern Railroad established, through San Bernardino, a rail link between Los Angeles and the rest of the nation in 1883. In 1905, the City of San Bernardino passed its first Charter. World War II brought what would become Norton Air Force Base. The McDonald Brothers founded the McDonald's brand, along with its innovative restaurant concept, in 1948. In 1980, the Panorama Fire destroyed 284 homes. And, in 1994, Norton Air Force Base closed to become the San Bernardino International Airport.
The city lies in the San Bernardino foothills and the eastern portion of the San Bernardino Valley, roughly east of Los Angeles. Some major geographical features of the city include the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Bernardino National Forest along the northern border; the Cajon Pass adjacent to the northwest border; City Creek, Lytle Creek, San Timoteo Creek, Twin Creek, Warm Creek (as modified through flood control channels) feed the Santa Ana River, which forms part of the city's southern border south of San Bernardino International Airport.
San Bernardino is unique among southern Californian cities because of its wealth of water, which is mostly contained in underground aquifers. A large part of the city is over the Bunker Hill Groundwater Basin, including downtown. This fact accounts for an historically high water table in portions of the city, including at the former Urbita Springs, a lake which no longer exists (It is now the site of the Inland Center Mall.). Seccombe Lake, named after a former mayor, is a man-made lake at Sierra Way and 5th Street. The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District ("Muni") has plans to build two more large, multi-acre lakes North and South of the historic downtown in order to reduce groundwater, mitigate the risks of liquefaction in a future earthquake, and sell the valuable water to neighboring agencies.
The city has several notable hills and mountains; among them are: Perris Hill (named after Fred Perris, an early engineer, and the namesake of Perris, California); Kendall Hill (which is near California State University); and, Little Mountain, which rises among Shandin Hills (generally bounded by Sierra Way, 30th Street, Kendall Drive, and Interstate 215).
Freeways act as significant geographical dividers for the City of San Bernardino. Interstate 215 is the major East-West divider, while State Route 210 is the major North-South divider. Interstate 10 is in the southern part of the city. Other major highways include State Route 206 (Kendall Drive and E Street); State Route 66 (which includes the former U.S. 66); State Route 18 (from State Route 210 north on Waterman Avenue to the northern City limits into the mountain communities), and State Route 259, the freeway connector between State Route 210 and I-215.
The neighborhoods of San Bernardino are not commonly named. Some reflect geographical regions that existed before annexation, and others originated with specific housing developments. Arrowhead Springs extends from the historic Arrowhead Springs Hotel and Spa in the North to the 210 freeway in the South and from Shandin Hills in the West to East Twin Creek in the East. Del Rosa is the area generally between the foothills and Highland, Mountain and Arden Avenues. Delmann Heights is the area North of Highland Avenue, West of the 215, and East of the unincorporated area of Muscoy, California (which is within the city's sphere of influence for annexation). Some portions of Highland are within the City of San Bernardino, generally consistent with the portions of historical "West Highlands" North of Highland Avenue. The city also contains the post office for Patton, California, the area coextensive with Patton Hospital. Mountain Shadows is the development name for the area between Palm Avenue and Highland Avenue to State Route 330. The "West Side" is used generically to refer to the areas West of the 215 freeway. North Loma Linda is the area West of Mountain View (the border with Redlands), South of the Santa Ana River, North of the 10 freeway, and East of Tippecanoe Avenue. The area north of Northpark Boulevard from University Parkway to Electric Avenue, and the area north of 40th Street from Electric Avenue to Harrison Street is called Newberry Farms. The area West of University Parkway, and North of Kendall Avenue to the city limits in Devore is called Verdemont. The "Bench" or "Rialto Bench" refers to the area with Rialto mailing addresses between Foothill Boulevard and Base Line Street.
San Bernardino is divided into several districts. Many of the traditional businesses of the historic downtown have migrated to the Hospitality Lane District, which is generally bounded by the Santa Ana River to the North and the I-10 freeway to the South. Downtown is its own district as well with shopping and gowement buildings. In the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains lies the University District, which is a commercial area designed to support the California State University with shopping, dining, and high density residential space. On the southern side of the 215 freeway and the University District is the Cajon Pass light-industrial district where warehouses are situated to take advantage of this important connection between southern California and the rest of the United States. On the opposite side of the city is the San Bernardino International Gateway, which encompasses the San Bernardino International Airport (SBD) and the AllianceCalifornia logistics campus. Nearby is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail hub. The combination of these assets (airport; rail hub; extensive freeway system; and, Cajon Pass) makes the city important in the movement of goods and people between southern California and the rest of the United States.
The City of San Bernardino is in the process of developing an historic district around the 1918 Santa Fe Depot, which recently underwent a $15.6 million restoration. When completed, this area will connect to the downtown District with period light standards and street furniture, historic homes and other structures, a new museum, coffee bars and, a mercado with an architectural style in keeping with the Mission Revival station.
San Bernardino has a Mediterranean climate, which is characterized by wet winters, with mild to chilly temperatures, and hot and dry summers. Snow flurries even occur within city limits on occasion. San Bernardino gets a total of of rain, hail, or light snow showers each year.
The seasonal Santa Ana winds are felt particularly strongly in the San Bernardino area as warm and dry air is channeled through nearby Cajon Pass at times during the autumn months. This phenomenon markedly increases the wildfire danger in the foothill, canyon, and mountain communities that the cycle of cold wet winters and dry summers helps create.
|Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures|
|Rec High °F||94||93||96||102||112||111||116||116||117||111||98||93||117|
|Avg high °F||45||52||55||67||77||90||100||105||85||67||55||50||71|
|Avg low °F||35||37||39||45||50||60||70||65||60||52||43||39||43|
|Rec Low °F||17||21||26||20||35||40||44||43||36||29||24||18||17|
There are 56,330 households out of which 44.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% are married couples living together, 21.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 27.0% are non-families. 21.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.19 and the average family size is 3.72. As of 2000, 52.4% of housing is owner-occupied, 47.6% is renter-occupied, while 11.6% of all other housing units were vacant.
In the city the population is spread out with 35.2% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 16.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 28 years. For every 100 females there are 96.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $31,140, and the median income for a family is $33,357. Males have a median income of $30,847 versus $25,782 for females. The per capita income for the city is $12,925. 48.6% of the population and 23.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 36.2% of those under the age of 18 and 11.4% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Historically, many Latinos, primarily Mexican-Americans and Mexican nationals, lived on and around Mount Vernon Avenue, while African-Americans were concentrated in the East Base Line area, especially in and around Waterman Gardens.
The City of San Bernardino has what may be a unique form of government, with a strong, full-time, elected mayor, a city manager, an elected City Attorney, City Clerk, and City Treasurer, and seven council positions elected in a ward system. The charter also created the San Bernardino City Unified School District, a legally separate agency, and the Board of Water Commissioners, a semi-autonomous, but legally indistinct commission, and a Board of Library Trustees.
The City Manager is responsible for all department heads, except for the fire and police chiefs. Previously, the San Bernardino Municipal Code recognized a City Administrator. In March 2006, City Administrator Frederick ("Fred") Wilson became the City's first City Manager.
When the City originally adopted a ward system, there were five wards. In the 1960s, the Council was expanded to seven wards. The boundaries are adjusted with each federal census as required by federal constitutional law. The current council is:
First Ward: Esther Estrada; Second Ward: Dennis Baxter; Third Ward: Tobin Brinker; Fourth Ward: Neiland ("Neil") K. Derry; Fifth Ward: Chas (not Charles) Kelley; Sixth Ward: Rikke Van Johnson; Seventh Ward: Wendy McCammack;
The Mayor is Patrick J. Morris;
The City Clerk is Rachel Clark;
The City Treasurer is David Kennedy;
The City Attorney is James "Jim" Frank Penman;
As per California law, all city positions are non-partisan.
San Bernardino's legal community has two centers: downtown and Hospitality Lane. Criminal, family, and government lawyers are centered downtown, while local civil firms and outposts of state and national firms, corporate, and insurance defense firms, are located along Hospitality Lane. The Government of Mexico has a consulate in downtown San Bernardino on the southeast corner of Third Street and "D" Street. Citizens of Mexico can obtain a Matrícula Consular which many governments and businesses use in lieu of U.S. photo identification.
Additionally, the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Bernardino, also known as the "Economic Development Agency of the City of San Bernardino," is a separate legal entity, though the City Council of the City of San Bernardino sits as the Agency Board, and the Mayor is its executive.
San Bernardino is the county seat of San Bernardino County. Various state courts, (for civil, criminal and juvenile trials) operate under the auspices of the Superior Court, San Bernardino District (formerly Central Division prior to the unification of the Superior and Municipal Courts in 1998). Currently, the Superior Court of California county courthouse is located at 351 North Arrowhead Avenue. It consists of a four-story building of steel and concrete construction built in 1927. A six-story addition was added in the 1950s. Currently, there are plans to seismically retrofit the 1926 structure, which will cause courtrooms and clerks to be temporarily moved to 303 West Third Street, site of the former State Building. The courthouse, after retrofit, will be transferred to the state's authority.
Juvenile Court and Juvenile Hall are located in a county enclave adjacent to the city on Gilbert Street, near the site of the former County Hospital.
A new courthouse is tentatively planned to be built at the south east corner of Third and Arrowhead, across from both the planned 303 West Third courtrooms, and the current court. Funding for the future court will likely be conditioned upon a statewide bond initiative.
The County's District Attorney and the Public Defender both have their main offices on Mountain View Avenue, directly east of the Courthouse.
The California Court of Appeal Fourth District, Division Two used to be located in San Bernardino, but moved to Riverside in the 1990s. Federal cases (including Bankruptcy) are also heard in Riverside courthouses.
The San Bernardino City Fire Department was founded in 1878. The Fire Chief is under the direction of the Mayor. There are thirteen stations.
Charter Section 186 requires that the monthly salaries of police and fire local safety members be the average of like positions at ten comparable cities in California. Thus, if the average goes up in other cities, the compensation of the local safety employees automatically rises.
Over 90 percent of local police officers do not live within the City limits.
Recent police efforts include joint patrols with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and the California Highway Patrol. As of November 2006, Part 1 Crime (Murders, Rape, Robbery, Assault, Burglary and Theft) was down 14.07 percent from 2005. Stricter enforcement caused a rise in both juvenile and adult arrests.
San Bernardino has long battled high crime rates. According to statistics published by Morgan Quitno, San Bernardino was the 16th most dangerous US city in 2003, 18th in 2004 and 24th in 2005. San Bernardino's murder rate was 29 per 100,000 in 2005, the 13th highest murder rate in the country and the third highest in the state of California after Compton and Richmond. Police efforts have significantly reduced crime in 2008 and a major drop collectively since 1993 when the city's murder rate placed ninth in the nation.
Tachikawa is the oldest and strongest of the relationships, and predates Sister Cities International, Inc. It was formed because both San Bernardino and Tachikawa had United States Air Force Bases.
The city's location close to the Cajon and San Gorgonio passes, and at the junctions of the I-10, I-215, and SR-210 freeways, positions it as an intermodal logistics hub. The city hosts the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway's Intermodal freight transport yard, the Yellow Freight Systems' cross-docking trucking center, and Pacific Motor Trucking. Large warehouses for Kohl's, Mattel, Pep Boys, and Stater Bros. have been developed near the San Bernardino International Airport.
Over the last few decades, the city's riverfront district along Hospitality Lane has drawn much of the regional economic development away from the historic downtown of the city so that the area now hosts a full complement of office buildings, big-box retailers, restaurants, and hotels situated around the Santa Ana River.
The closure of Norton Air Force Base in 1994 caused the loss of 10,000 highly-skilled military and civilian jobs, emptied whole neighborhoods, and sent San Bernardino's economy into a significant downturn that has been offset by more recent growth in the intermodal logistics industry. The jobless rate in the region swelled to more than 12 percent during the years immediately after the base closure, and even today households within one mile (1.6 km) of the city core have a median income of $20,480, less than half that of the Inland region as a whole.
Historically, San Bernardino has had a number of newspapers. Today, the San Bernardino Sun, founded in 1894 (but was the continuation of an earlier paper) publishes in North San Bernardino, and has a circulation area roughly from Yucaipa to Fontana, including the mountain communities.Many older residents refer to the Sun as the Sun-Telegram, its name when it merged with the afternoon Telegram in the 1960s. There is also the Black Voice News that has been in the area over 30 years serving African Americans that live in the community.
San Bernardino and the Inland Empire have their own Arbitron area. Therefore, there are a number of radio stations that broadcast in or near San Bernardino. These include rock station KCXX, country music station KFRG and NPR member station KVCR (FM). Other than government or media outlets, there is a major internet site made for the Inland Empire.
Argosy University-Inland Empire
The district, as signified by its name, has elementary, intermediate, and high schools. The comprehensive high schools are:
The Heritage House at 8th and D holds the collection of the San Bernardino Historic and Pioneer Society, while the San Bernardino County Museum of regional history, in Redlands, California, has exhibits relating to the City of San Bernardino, as well.
The San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum is located inside the historic Santa Fe Depot. And, a Route 66 museum is located on the historic site of the original McDonalds restaurant at 1398 N. E Street.
Specialty museums include: the Inland Empire Military Museum, which is located at 1394 N. E Street; the American Sports Museum on D Street; and, the adjacent World Boxing Council "Legends of Boxing" Museum.
The specific plan for the future of the site includes: a new 115-room annex to the existing 135-room hotel; a new 300-room lakefront hotel; new reservoirs and a reconfiguration of the Lake Vonette; new vineyards, along with the Windy Point restaurant and wine-tasting site; a new 18-hole golf course; 36 new custom estates on fairway-adjacent lots; of commercial space, 34 apartment suites built to condominium standards, and 266 condominiums, townhomes, and single-family attached homes in the new Village Walk mixed-use lifestyle center; 300 new condominiums, townhomes, and/or senior apartments in an upscale retirement village; a new spa resort; 429 condominiums, townhomes, and single-family detached homes located adjacent to the golf course; commercial stables at a new polo club and equestrian center; extensive multi-purpose trails and watercourses; a public botanical garden; of private parks; a new office complex; a new conference center; and, of commercial space and 285 condominiums, townhomes, and single-family attached homes in the Hilltown development. Existing facilities on the grounds include: a cinema; ten private bungalows previously-owned by such people as Eleanor Roosevelt, Lucille Ball, the Marx Brothers, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, and Humphrey Bogart; an outdoor amphitheatre; a wedding chapel; the Esther Williams Pool and Cabanas; the Hill Auditorium; several ballrooms; a guard house; tennis courts; and, the Hacienda.
The $300 million Casino San Manuel, one of the few in southern California that does not operate as a resort hotel, is located approximately one mile from the Arrowhead Springs Hotel and Spa.
In downtown, Clarion, adjacent to the San Bernardino Convention Center, is the largest hotel while the Hilton is the largest in the Hospetality Lane District.
California State University, San Bernardino Coyotes compete at the NCAA Division II level in a variety of sports. In 2007, the Coyotes' men's basketball team competed in the Division II Final Four in Springfield, Massachusetts. However, only San Bernardino Valley College plays football at the collegiate level.
San Bernardino has had other professional and semi-pro teams over the years, including the San Bernardino Jazz professional women's volleyball team, the San Bernardino Pride Senior Baseball team, and the San Bernardino Spirit California League Single A baseball team.
San Bernardino also hosts the BSR West Super Late Model Series at Orange Show Speedway. The series fields many drivers, including NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Ron Hornaday, who drove the #33 in a race on July 12, 2008.
The major streets are (north south streets, from the west): Meridian Avenue, Mount Vernon Avenue, E Street, Arrowhead Avenue, Sierra Way, Waterman Avenue, Tippecanoe Avenue, Del Rosa Avenue, Sterling Avenue, Arden Avenue, Victoria Avenue, Palm Avenue, and Boulder Street; east west streets, from the north): Northpark Boulevard, Kendall Avenue, 40th Street, Marshall Boulevard, 30th Street, Highland Avenue, Base Line (Street), 9th Street, 5th Street, 2nd Street, Rialto Avenue, Mill Street, Orange Show Road, and Hospitality Lane.
The state highways include:
The City of San Bernardino is a member of the joint-powers authority Omnitrans. A Bus Rapid Transit project, called SB-X, is planned from Cal State San Bernardino to Loma Linda. A bus transit center is planned in the vicinity of E Street and Rialto Avenue.
The airport is served by three major freeways: I-10 (Tippecanoe Avenue); I-215 (Mill Street); and, SR 210 (Waterman Ave. - Hwy 18).
The name of the city is sometimes misspelled as "San Bernadino, without the second "r", based on a common mispronunciation.
Newspapers, particularly the San Bernardino County Sun, will sometimes abbreviate San Bernardino (the city but not the county) to "S.B." Doing so can cause some confusion, though, in that other places in the state, including the South Bay of Los Angeles County and Santa Barbara, California are often abbreviated to "S.B.", as well. The name "San Bernardino" refers both to the incorporated City of San Bernardino, as well as to other associated, unincorporated areas.
Two common abbreviations are "San Bdno." and "San Bdo."; a Google search today for San Bdno. returns 18,800,000 hits and San Bdo. returns 599,000.