Note to Teachers: Before You Start


If you are serious about teaching local history, you must do some reading about the subject. The State Standards specify local applications of the major themes of Social Studies. See the Bibliography for some sources to get you started. Local history is very rich, and archives like the Smiley Library, California Room at the Feldhym Library in San Bernardino, County Museum and Loma Linda University Heritage Room hold a wealth of information


Themes in Social Studies are very important. Third Grade approaches local history by looking for evidences of continuity and change.

Facts & Interpretation

Facts in history are important. We need to know people, places, dates and events as a framework. The lessons that we learn from the past, though, are most important. We discover the lessons through study and interpretation. To be teaching well, we can't stop at teaching about history. We must be teaching our students the discipline of history -- to become apprentice historians.


The history of the Inland Empire can be neatly divided into eras, or waves of settlement and development. Most local historians have divided the past into very similar periods of time, and we will follow the pattern that others have set.

These eras make an excellent outline for teaching, and allow us to make statements about the people, how they used the land, how they interacted with previous inhabitants, and so on, as prescribed in the California State Standards for Social Studies.

History as Living Dialogue with Change

Third graders seem fascinated by change -- especially when it is local change. As their critical eyes develop they start noticing change as it happens.

"Did you see they tore down the Tri-city Drive-In?"

"How old was it? When was it built?"

We go to newspaper articles and pictures. We ask people we know about the theater. We find that many of our parents and grandparents have great memories of sitting in their cars watching movies at the theater. Students wonder why it has been torn down if people liked it so much, and if no one is planning to use the land anyway.

"What's happening to the old Bryn Mawr School?"

We find out from the Loma Linda City Planner that it has been given to a local church group. They are remodeling it for use as their church. We notice that the church group are Romanian Seventh-day Adventists, a new wave of settlers in the valley.

Basic Library

You will probably want to have the following book in your personal library. These will give you the basic outline of personal knowledge that will make this part of teaching fun for you and your students.

Sunshine, Citrus and Science by Keld Reynolds. You can purchase this book in paperback or hardback at the Loma Linda City Hall. Paperback is $20.00. This is the essential history of Loma Linda.

Guideposts of History. This was issued by Sante Fe Savings many years ago. You can find used copies in used bookstores, like Book Buy Book on State St. in Redlands. Gives the historical background of many street and place names in the Inland Empire.

"Mormons in San Bernardino" by Arda Haenzel. This is a County Museum Quarterly publication. You can buy it at the gift store in the San Bernardino County Library, Redlands, CA

Advanced Reading

See the Bibliography for a complete listing. Avid history readers will probably enjoy and find useful Wyman's Five Fires and Lyman's San Bernardino. If you get really ambitious, you can find many other sources in local libraries and archives.

One More Thing...

Before you go, make sure you have really absorbed the materials in this website. Cruise through it, getting familiar with the links and resources, before you turn your students loose on it.

If you find something that doesn't work, or (horrors) a mistake, don't hesitate to e-mail me!