Location: San Bernardino County, California
Named after Saint Bernardino of Siena (1380-1444), a Franciscan, who was commemorated in a number of California place names by members of his order. According to legend (unattested), the name was first applied locally to a temporary chapel built on May 20, 1810-the Saint's feast day. Franciscan Padre Francisco Durnetz, who (with Lasuén) founded Mission San Fernando Rey de España (1797), and for whom Point Dume in Malibu is named, bestowed the title. Later, an Asistencia (satellite) of Mission San Gabriel, was established as San Bernardino (1819). In the early 1820's a Rancho San Bernardino is mentioned as part of this Mission. On June 21, 1842, the name was applied to the 35,509 acre (Mexican Land Grant) Rancho San Bernardino. A group of Mormons bought this rancho and founded a colony (1851) which later developed into the present city of San Bernardino. A part of Los Angeles was separated to form San Bernardino County on April 26, 1853. William P. Blake, geologist of Williamson's Pacific Railroad Survey, first suggested the name Bernardino Sierra, because he believed it to be an extension of the Sierra Nevada (1853). But instead, the name San Bernardino Mountains has been in common use since before the 1850's.
The original Luiseño Cahuilla Indian name for the peak was Piwípwi which means "younger sister" (vs. "elder sister" which is now called Cucamonga Peak), the term has connotations of whiteness.
The Waashkiam (Serrano) called it "White Mountain". Whereas to local Yuhavetum (Serrano) it was Târahiak, which means "forked" in reference to the mountain's twin peaks.
Additionally, these Indians all considered the many herbs that grow near the springs of these peaks to have had great medicinal and magical value.
Because of its distinctive cone, San Bernardino Peak was adopted for use by the USGS as the local base reference point. In 1852, US Army Col. Henry Washington established this initial point and built a monument for an east-west base line and a north-south meridian. From this spot all subsequent land surveys in Southern California are calculated.
It appears as Mt. San Bernardino in the Surveyor General's Map of Public Surveys in California (1855).
A Timberland Reserve (the precursor to our current National Forests) was established here by order of President Harrison (1893), and remained the Eastern part of the Angeles National Forest until 1925.
This peak was called "Mount San Bernardino" on original HPS Peak List.
First mentioned in Tom Coulter's Royal Geographic Society publication: Notes on Upper California, A Journey from Monterey to the Colorado River in 1832 (1835).
Name first appears on USGS Southern California Sheet #1 (1901).
Peak was on the original 1946 HPS Peak List.
Weldon Heald climbed this peak in 1942.