1810: Father Francisco Dumetz of the San Gabriel Mission discovers and names the San Bernardino Valley on May 20, the feast day of St. Bernardine. The mission arranges with the controlling Mexican government to establish a 35,000-acre property called Rancho San Bernardino.
1842: Don Antonio Maria Lugo, a former mayor of Los Angeles and one of the great landowners of Mexican California, purchases Rancho San Bernardino for the equivalent of $800.
1851: A band of Mormon colonists arrives in June and camps in Cajon Pass until negotiations are completed to purchase Rancho San Bernardino from the Lugo family for $77,500. In September, the party moves to a site in what is now downtown San Bernardino and begins construction of a stockade.
1853: San Bernardino County is established.
1854: The city of San Bernardino is incorporated.
1857: Mormons are recalled to Salt Lake City by church leader Brigham Young, who seeks to muster a defense against a feared raid by the United States government. More than half of San Bernardino’s Mormons obey the call, but the rest choose to remain.
1857: Anson Van Leuven plants the valley’s first orange trees in the southern portion of Rancho San Bernardino, near present-day Loma Linda.
1860: Gold is discovered in the San Bernardino Mountains, causing a gold rush that further depletes the population of San Bernardino.
1863: San Bernardino disincorporates. The city reincorporates in 1869.
1866: A San Bernardino militia mounts a sustained attack against the Serrano Indians and drives them out of their mountain strongholds and into hiding.
1868: David Noble Smith’s sanitarium, founded in 1864 at Arrowhead Springs, is enlarged to become Arrowhead Springs Hotel.
1874: First San Bernardino County Court House is built, on Court Street near E Street.
1882: San Bernardino builds an Opera House four years before Los Angeles builds a similar venue.
1883: California Southern Railroad lays track into San Bernardino on Sept. 13, touching off a four-day celebration.
1885: Santa Fe Railroad acquires California Southern Railroad and completes a route north through the Cajon Pass.
1886: Santa Fe builds a depot in San Bernardino. Rate wars between competing railroads, along with a growing citrus boom, boost the economy and population of the city and region.
1886: A second Arrowhead Springs Hotel is built after fire destroys the original in 1885.
1891: San Bernardino High School is built.
1893: The Southern California Asylum for the Insane is built. Today it is called Patton State Hospital.
1893: Rival city Riverside secedes from San Bernardino County and establishes Riverside County.
1894: The Sun newspaper publishes its first edition on Sept. 1.
1895: Arrowhead Springs Hotel burns down.
1901: San Bernardino’s first City Hall is built at Third and D streets.
1902: San Bernardino Valley Traction Company begins operation of electric trolley service in and between San Bernardino, Colton, Highland and Redlands.
1903: Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water Company is established.
1904: A Carnegie Library is built on the corner of Fourth and D streets.
1905: Arrowhead Hot Springs Hotel is built, replacing the Arrowhead Springs Hotel that burned in 1895.
1905: A small dry goods store, Harris’, opens downtown. It will evolve into the Harris’ Department Store chain.
1908: California Supreme Court rules that San Bernardino can’t divert mountain water for irrigation purposes, bringing construction of Little Bear Lake north of the city to an impasse. Later the project results in the formation of a recreational and residential resort, Lake Arrowhead.
1907: San Bernardino National Forest is established.
1910: City hosts San Bernardino Valley Centennial celebration.
1911: The first National Orange Show is held, March 6-11.
1914: Construction begins on Rim of the World Highway. Work is completed in 1916.
1920: The term “Inland Empire” is coined in the Oct. 26 edition of The Sun.
1926: Present-day San Bernardino County Court House is built on the site of the original Mormon stockade.
1927: Luxurious new Harris’ store opens. California Hotel and San Bernardino Valley College also open.
1928: The California Theatre opens.
1934: Perris Hill Park opens.
1937: Lucia Rodriguez opens Mitla Cafe, still in business today on Mount Vernon Avenue.
1937: Milton R. Sage opens his first market at Base Line and E Street. The store will expand to become a chain of Sage’s Complete Markets throughout the Southland.
1938: Major flooding in March causes heavy damage in the city and region.
1939: After the Arrowhead Hot Springs Hotel burns in 1938, it is replaced by a rechristened Arrowhead Springs Hotel. A star-studded gala grand opening is held in December.
1940: Richard and Maurice (Mac) McDonald open the world’s first McDonald’s restaurant at 14th and E streets.
1941: San Bernardino police raid and close the city’s red-light district on South D Street.
1941: San Bernardino is named as the site of United States Air Force supply and repair depot, to be called the San Bernardino Air Depot.
1948: The McDonald brothers convert their restaurant to a drive-in, with a grand re-opening on Dec. 12. The modern fast-food industry is born.
1949: Swing Auditorium opens on the grounds of the National Orange Show.
1949: The Wigwam Motel opens on Route 66.
1950: The San Bernardino Air Depot becomes Norton Air Force Base, named after local war hero Leland F. Norton, killed in a World War II fire fight over France in 1944.
1954: Freeway construction begins that eventually will bring Interstate 10 and Interstate 215 to the city.
1962: Campus Crusade for Christ purchases the Arrowhead Springs Hotel and establishes its world headquarters there.
1964: Rolling Stones perform first American concert on June 5 at San Bernardino’s Swing Auditorium.
1965: Cal State San Bernardino opens.
1966: Inland Center opens.
1969: Flooding in January and February causes extensive damage.
1971: W.R. “Bob” Holcomb, descendant of a city pioneer, becomes mayor. He will serve more years in office than any other mayor.
1971: Little League Western Regional Headquarters opens.
1972: Central City Mall opens. It’s renamed Carousel Mall in 1991.
1973: Redevelopment of downtown continues with opening of new City Hall.
1977: San Bernardino named All-America City.
1978: Announcement is made in July that Pope Paul VI has created a new Diocese of San Bernardino to serve San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
1980: Devastation is caused by Harrison Canyon Flood in February and Panorama Fire in November.
1981: An 11-foot-tall statue of Martin Luther King Jr. is dedicated in front of City Hall.
1981: Swing Auditorium is destroyed by a crashing private aircraft on Sept. 13.
1982: US Festival draws more than 400,000 rock fans to Glen Helen Regional Park on Labor Day weekend.
1983: A second US Festival takes place on Memorial Day weekend.
1985: Norman F. Feldheym Central Library opens in Pioneer Park.
1985: New County Government Center opens.
1985: Businesswoman Evlyn Wilcox becomes the city’s first female mayor.
1987: Minor League Baseball team, The Spirit, opens play at Fiscalini Field in Perris Hill Park.
1989: Renaissance Pleasure Faire moves from Agoura Hills to San Bernardino. It departs in 1995, relocating in Irwindale.
1989: Runaway freight train crashes into Duffy Street neighborhood in May, causing loss of life and property. Days later, the explosion of a gas pipeline damaged in the crash adds to the damage and death toll.
1990: First Route 66 Rendezvous takes place at Glen Helen Regional Park. It moves downtown the following year.
1991: Campus Crusade for Christ leaves San Bernardino, relocating in Orlando, Fla.
1992: Santa Fe Railway folds its operations in San Bernardino. Norton Air Force Base begins a shutdown that is completed in 1994.
1993: Blockbuster Pavilion opens at the site of the US Festival events of 1982-83.
1994: San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino opens.
1996: Spirit baseball team changes name to Stampede and moves to new downtown San Bernardino Stadium.
1998: Educator Judith Valles becomes mayor, the first Latina mayor in U.S. history of a city of 100,000 population or more.
1999: Downtown’s flagship Harris’ Department Store closes.
2000: Maestro Carlo Ponti Jr. makes American debut on March 26 with the San Bernardino Symphony. His parents, film legends Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti, attend. Later in the year, he accepts baton to become the symphony’s fulltime conductor.
2003: Stampede baseball team changes name to Inland Empire 66ers. San Bernardino Stadium is renamed Arrowhead Credit Union Park.
2003: Arson-caused Old Fire devastates foothill and mountain communities. Later, Christmas Day flooding destroys a church camp in Old Waterman Canyon, near the flashpoint of the Old Fire, killing almost two dozen people.
2005: New, larger San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino opens in February.
2005: The Nov. 13 death of 11-year-old Mynisha Crenshaw, a random victim of gang shooting, sparks a community uprising against crime and violence in the city.
2006: Retired Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Morris wins election to become mayor.
2007: Stater Bros., Inland Empire’s largest employer, opens new headquarters and distribution center in San Bernardino.
2009: San Bernardino annexes Arrowhead Springs.
2010: San Bernardino celebrates bicentennial.