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About Needles

Welcome to Needles, California. Located on the scenic Colorado River just across the bridge from Arizona, and by the tip of Nevada. Needles is the gateway to California. The fabled Route 66 (the “Mother Road”) runs through downtown Needles.

Needles is a city with a rich and colorful history, providing a satisfying, less hurried way of life, and a supportive business climate. From the frontier of the Old West to the frontier of the 21st century, Needles commands a strategic position in the evolution of California. Come on in and see what makes us unique.

Who We Are

Needles is one of the oldest cities in San Bernardino County. Founded in 1883 with the coming of the railroad. Needles incorporated on October 30, 1913 and became a charter city on January 28, 1959. Located in the very heart of the lower Colorado River recreation area just across the bridge from Arizona and just minutes to Nevada, (the “Tri-State” area), Needles is the gateway to the Golden State.

The Aha Macav (now federally designated as the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe) has managed the natural resources of their desert homeland for perhaps as long as 8,000 years. There is evidence to suggest that the ancestors of today’s Mojave people migrated into the mountains and valleys along the Colorado River soon after the last ice age.

In 1776, Father Francisco Garces was the first white man to visit the homeland of the Mojave. The United States Army established Camp Colorado (later changed to Ft. Mojave) on the east side of the Colorado River in 1859 to protect settlers migrating west.

el-garcesIn 1883, the first railroad crossed the Colorado River from Topock in Arizona Territory to the present site of Needles. The town of Needles was formed at that time. Needles became a regular stop for the Santa Fe Railroad and served as an icing station for the fruits and vegetables shipped east from California’s fields and orchards.

Today, Needles still remains an important part of the backbone of America’s shipping – the railroad. The City of Needles occupies approximately 30 square miles with a population density of 198 per square mile within the large metropolitan county of San Bernardino (20,062 square miles), so there is plenty of “elbow room” for living and recreation.

Compare that statistics with California coastal cities, where per-mile density can exceed 5,000 persons, and you begin to see the advantages of Needles’ being located on California’s “East Coast”.

palm-tree-houseInterstate 40 traverses Needles east to west, with Highway 95 (the Trans-National Highway from Mexico to Canada) providing north-south access. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (“BNSF”) has a hub at Needles. Amtrak provides two trains a day from Needles to Los Angeles, and Needles to Chicago. Local bus service is provided by the Needles Area Transit (“NAT”) bus that runs at conveniently scheduled intervals throughout the City.

The ten-million dollar restoration of the historic El Garces Hotel/Santa Fe Depot in Needles scheduled to be completed in fall 2013 and it will house an Intermodal transportation center for Amtrak, and regional/local bus lines.

The Laughlin – Bullhead International Airport is approximately 25 miles from Needles, providing flights by Sun Country Airlines which is currently providing quality, affordable scheduled air service to the most popular destinations including Dallas, Ft. Myers, Las Vegas, Laughlin, Los Angeles, Minneapolis / St. Paul, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego and San Francisco.

trainThe Needles trade area covers a 40-mile radius area, with a population in excess of 127,000. The cities within that radius are Bullhead City, AZ (20 minutes), Kingman, AZ (60 minutes), Lake Havasu City, AZ (40 minutes), and Laughlin, NV (25 minutes).

The largest employers in this area are the casinos in Laughlin, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in Needles, the hospitals in Bullhead City, Fort Mohave and Needles, the municipalities within the area, and the school districts in those municipalities, PG&E, Trans Western, So Cal, and Wal-Mart.

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