San Bernardino in 1892

From "The Graphic", Chicago, May 21, 1892
(Courtesy of the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society)

Title Page of "The Graphic Chicago" newspaper with a sketch of "The South Entrance to the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building"
South Entrance to the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building

Above is the Title Page of "The Graphic Chicago" newspaper with a sketch of "The South Entrance to the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building" of "PROGRESS WORLDS COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION".
Below is a re-print of the May 21, 1892 article on San Bernardino with accompanying views of the City.

The young city of San Bernardino is to San Bernardino County what Rome was to the old world; all roads lead to it, and it will unquestionably maintain the lead as the commercial center of this active and rapidly growing section. San Bernardino County is the largest legally incorporated county in the United States. It has an area larger than the States of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Rhode Island combined, and includes within its limits what are apparently irredeemable deserts, and colonies that are veritable Edens in the luxuriousness of their growth; magnificent pine forests, the roots of which are covered with snow half of the year, and pleasant valleys where the June roses are in perennial blossom.

Surrounding these scenes, like a majestic Chinese wall, stands the imposing San Bernardino range. Along its crest is a mighty forest belt, such as would only be looked for in the heart of Northern Michigan. At its center are mines that are certain to develop into heavy producers of both precious and base ores of many kinds. Still further down from out of the first foot-hill range there gush healing fountains, which many an invalid has blessed for their curative qualities and the fame of which is destined to increase year by year.

Its early settlers had no conception of the resources within its vast realm. Less than ten thousand acres of valley lands devoted to orange culture have alone attained a cash value of millions of dollars. No portion of the globe possesses very large areas of first-class orange land; thus as the consumption of the fruit is becoming more general the worth of the soil suitable to its growth is rapidly advanced. San Bernardino County also offers the ordinary agricultural advantages in a large measure, and the production of wheat, barley, potatoes, alfalfa, peaches, pears, prunes, apples, etc., is general and very remunerative. Sugar beets are being successfully cultivated, while olives, lemons, grapes for wine production and cured raisins already constitute important commercial shipments. To this extraordinary productive capacity, covering almost every agricultural product grown from Italy to Sweden, are added valuable forests, rich mineral deposits, beautiful marble, choice granite, and other important elements of wealth. There are few wants of civilized man that cannot be gratified from the material latent in soil or mountain ranges within the 21,000 square miles comprising this county. Surrounded by such richness of resource, San Bernardino, the capital of the county, possesses every prospect of early taking rank with the most conspicuous commercial centers of the Pacific slope.

Collage of Photographs by Wesner
(From Photographs by Wesner)
1. In the Canon near San Bernardino. 2. Third Street looking East. 3. First Methodist Church. 4. Flume Canyon Pass.
5. A School building. 6. Residence of H. L. Drew. 7. A Palm Tree - San Bernardino Mountains.
8. Office Building - Arrow Head Reservoir Company. 9. A San Bernardino Winter Garden.


The city's population is at present about 12,000. It has several miles of paved and macadamized streets, a complete system of sewerage drainage, being located fifty feet above general outlets; it is well lighted by electricity and gas; good local transportation facilities exist, and there is under contemplation an extended system of electric street car railroad, which will connect all leading local points. The educational and social facilities have kept pace with the growth of the community, and handsome school and church buildings have been erected. Anew high school building, to cost $100,000, has recently been authorized. There are two daily journals, the Morning Courier and the Evening Times Index, which lead the community's progress. All branches of business enterprise are strongly represented, the banking interests being represented by four institutions of high standing, and possessing an aggregate capital of about a half million dollars.

One of the most valuable features of the city is its domestic water supply. In addition to hundreds of artesian wells wells inside the city limits, which embrace an area approximating ten square miles, there has been developed an exceptionally large artesian supply at the base of the foothills and piped into the city at considerable cost. The town possesses in consequence one of the very best systems of pure domestic water supply in the country, and the high pressure secured affords excellent protection from fire.

The architectural features of the city are very attractive, and among other notable structures to be erected is a new county court house to cost $300,000.

Collage of Photos Including the County Court House and County Hall of Records
1, 3 and 5. Glimpses of San Bernardino 2. Proposed New San Bernardino County Court House. 4. County Hall of Records

The prosperity of the county as a whole is evidenced by the fact that it is entirely out of debt and possesses a cash surplus of a quarter of a million. The present population of the county is scarcely 50,000, but with the rapid influx of immigrants the next census will doubtless find fully 250,000 people comfortably settled within its borders.

Industrial enterprise in San Bernardino is yet in its infancy, though the growth of this section of the State and the abundance of material open a most promising future to large endeavor in this field. Prominent among the factors which comprehend the possibilities of the community is the Arrowhead Reservoir Company, which takes its name from one of the most striking landmarks to be found anywhere in the world, the perfect outline of a gigantic arrowhead in the very center of the San Bernardino ranges. The two fundamental factors in this enterprise are those of the climatic characteristics which prevail.

The valley basin, with its vast areas as yet largely unoccupied, is semi-tropical in production, and semi-arid from a meteorological standpoint. The elevated area above five thousand feet, thence to ten, is temperate in the main, but varying on the semi-arctic on reaching an elevation of ten thousand feet. This latter region, as stated, contains a grand forest belt, the chief source and maintenance of innumerable springs, creeks, rivers, etc., the principal of which is the Mojave River. These water sources are the veritable rivers of life to the valley below basking in almost perennial sunshine.

From the base of the San Bernardino Mountains to the uplands of Los Angeles west, stretches a plateau from ten to fifteen miles in width to nearly a hundred in length, the like of which is not to be found in the United States. Furnish those mountain slopes with water for every acre and power for manufacturing as well as traction, and a scene for human activity is provided, on which almost anything within the reach of civilized man can be realized. Every acre of these lands is cheap at $200 each with water for irrigation, There are not a few of them occupied, producing annual values ranging as high as $500 per acre. It constitutes the ideal citrus belt perhaps of the world, certainly of the whole United States.

Collage of Photos from the Lower Valleys
1. Stewart Hotel. 2. New St. Charles Hotel. 3. Residence of Mrs. Byrne. 4. Farmer's Exchange Bank Building.
5. Arrow Head-Hot Springs near San Bernardino

A road has been constructed up the range at very large expense, the first of its kind in this section, and makes easy of access to the people of the lower valleys one of the most ideal summer regions on the continent.

The journey up the road is a feast to the eyes at every turn. It will not only bear comparison, but will more than hold its own with the ascent of Mount Washington, or Pike's Peak. Arriving at the summit one may drive along the crests over a level mountain plateau far miles, while the panorama below furnishes an ever changing and most charming expanse, intermingled as it is with emerald islands of orange groves resting like noble jewels on the bosom of the queenly valley of San Bernardino. Beyond lies the illimitable golden Pacific Ocean, luminous with sunshine. To the southward extends what appears the very stronghold of Jack Frost: miles of towering mountain summits gleaming with snow, grand as the Jungfrau or the Matterhorn.

The original aim and principal effort of an enterprise now in progress is to convert the great water resources of these upper regions into irrigation and manufacturing facilities in the city of San Bernardino and adjacent regions. The opportunities presented are practically unlimited; vast areas now unoccupied will be converted into colonies productive of the choicest fruits and other agricultural products. Above other towns San Bernardino will be immensely benefited and the power that these canals and tunnels will furnish it with will be all that is required to give it a remarkable impetus as a manufacturing city.