History of Needles
Needles is one of the oldest living communities
on the Colorado River, rich in history and promise of the future. The
fabric of its past is intricately woven of influences of the river,
the railroad, Old Trails Highway, the Mojave Indian Tribe, and
pre-history, evidence of which abounds from the land. Perhaps most of
all it has been influenced by its climate, with long, hot summers
offset by short mild and wonderful winters.
Mojave Indians lived in the valley long before white people ever set
foot on the land. Descendents of these early people still live here
today and are called the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe. How long the Mohave
were in residence in the area is not known, but the archaeological
records indicate that these early people were here thousands of years
ago. Ancient petroglyphs, pictographs, intaglios, old trails and stone
work sites bear witness to those who came from an earlier time.
The arrival of the railroad at the Colorado River in 1883, actually
caused the founding of the town on the backs of the river. The first
bridge to cross the Colorado River was built in the area. It was a
wooden structure and was eventually replaced by the Red Rock steel
cantilever bridge in 1890. The new settlement was named "The Needles,"
taken from the sharp peaks at the southern end of the valley.
In the late 1850's, Lt. Edward F. Beale recommended that a fort be
established in the area for protection of travelers from Indians. Fort
Mojave was built in 1859 and was soon a route along the old Mojave
Road, traveled extensively by the military, emigrants to the gold
fields of California and adventurers.
Once the railroad came to the Needles area, it became a regular stop
for the Santa Fe. Tragedy struck the railroad station in 1906 when the
original wooden railway station and
Harvey House burned to the
ground causing some loss of life. The station was replaced by a
concrete structure, named El Garces, which served as a
and railway station.
The historic site still stands
along the railroad tracks in Needles, and efforts are underway to
restore the site as a historical landmark.
* Photos courtesy of the Needles
Needles Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 705 Needles, CA. 92363
Phone (760)326-2050 Fax (760)326-2194
Copyright © 2000-2010 Needles Chamber. All rights reserved.