McCall’s Horse Trough

By Steven Shaw

(Photograph provided by the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society)

A historic limestone, horse-watering trough, a relic of the twenty-mule team era of San Bernardino valley, was dedicated to the San Bernardino Society of California Pioneers, Saturday, February 17th, 1951, at a very colorful ceremony. Shirley Bright, its donor, made the presentation. The Mayor and Council and over one hundred Pioneer members witnessed the ceremony.

It bears the following inscription carved on its side:

Feb. 22, A.D. 1878
Horse Shoe'er

John McCall's Horse Trough in Front of the Heritage House
John McCall's Horse Trough
(Relocated to Heritage House in 2003)

The old trough has had a varied history. It was located in front of John McCall's blacksmith shop on the east side of D Street, which would now be the southeast corner of Court Street and D Streets. Disastrous fires in 1878-79 destroyed the business establishments of John McCall, R.I. Task's fruit store, offices of Dr. Rene Campbell, Justice Morse, Boston Bakery, and the Lone Star Saloon.

In 1882-83, Waters and Brinkmeyer erected the San Bernardino Opera House on the site of McCall's blacksmith shop, and the limestone trough was moved to the wagon shop of Joe S. Bright, father of Shirley Bright, on Third Street near G. Street Later, when Mr. Bright closed his wagon shop, the horse trough was moved to the Bright home on Eighth Street. After the donation to the Pioneer Society the trough rested in a concrete base in front of the Log Cabin in Pioneer Park until fire destroyed the cabin in 1973.

The trough was then moved to Arrowhead Parlor #110 of the Native Sons of the Golden West in San Bernardino where it remained in storage for thirty years.

The trough was then moved to the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society at 8th and D Streets. A dedication ceremony by the Native Sons of the Golden West was held on February 22, 2003, exactly 125 years to the day the horse trough was inscribed and 52 years after it was dedicated to the original Pioneer Society.


This limestone horse-watering trough was made in 1878 to serve John McCall's blacksmithing business in downtown San Bernardino. Over the years it served several other businesses, finally being used at Joe S. Bright's wagon shop. In 1951, his daughter, Shirley Bright, donated it to the San Bernardino Society of California Pioneers. It stood as a landmark at the society's log cabin museum-meeting hall in Pioneer Park until the cabin was destroyed by fire in 1973. It was then placed under the care of Arrowhead Parlor No. 110, native sons of the Golden West until 2003, when it was returned to the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society for restoration and public display.

FEBRUARY 22, 2003

(Plaque above John McCall's Horse Trough, located at 8th and D Streets)