Needles (Mojave ʼAha Kuloh) is a
city located on the western banks of the Colorado
River in San Bernardino County, California. It is located in Mojave Valley, which
straddles the California–Arizona
The city is accessible via Interstate 40
and U.S. Route 95
The population was 4,830 at the 2000 census, and was estimated at
5,700 by mid-2008. Needles was named after "The Needles," a group
of pointed rocks on the Arizona side of the river. There is a
relatively large Mohave
they are not the majority.
, intaglios, old trails and stone work
sites bear witness to those who came from an earlier time."
(Needles Chamber of Commerce)
people had been living in the area for
hundreds, if not thousands, of years prior to the European
exploration of the area. In 1859, Fort Mojave was built to protect
immigrants to California and other travelers from the
was founded in 1883 as a result of the construction of the
railroad, which crosses the Colorado at this
The name is derived from pointed mountain peaks at
the south end of the valley.
claiming the county had been unwilling to help keep the city's
troubled hospital open as a full-service medical facility, the city
considered seceding from California and becoming part of
neighboring Nevada, only a few
miles away. The options of attaching itself to the state
of Arizona or even
forming a new county were also considered.
Historic U.S. Route 66
passes through the city, lined with
motels and other shops from that era. Needles is a tourism and
recreation center, a tradition going back for decades.
Valley, is known for extreme heat during the
Temperatures in Needles routinely reach in late
July and early August. The Needles weather station is frequently
reported by the United State government's National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) as the site of the
highest daily temperature recorded in the U.S. during the hot
desert summers. Needles occasionally sets national or world daily
high temperature records.
In January, the normal high temperature is with a normal low of .
In July, the normal high temperature is 107 degrees with a normal
low of 85. Annual rainfall is about .
On July 17, 2005, the high temperature at Needles was , the hottest
temperature ever recorded in Needles since record keeping began in
1940, breaking the previous all-time record high of four days
earlier (which prior to that, broke the all-time high of which was
set on July 2, 1967).
On July 22, 2006, about one year later, Needles experienced a
record high low temperature, with a temperature recorded to be at 5
AM with a high temperature exceeding .
The city is also known for moderate to locally severe thunderstorms
during the monsoon
well as humid conditions.
Needles is served by the National Weather Service
Weather Radio operating on 162.50 MHz from the Las Vegas National
As of the census
of 2000, there were 4,830
people, 1,940 households, and 1,268 families residing in the city.
The estimated population in July 2006: 5,330 (+10.4% change). The
(62.6/km²). There were 2,551 housing units at an average density of
85.7/mi² (33.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.87%
, 1.61% African American
, 0.12% Pacific Islander
, 6.38% from
, and 5.59%
from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 18.36% of the
There were 1,940 households out of which 31.2% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples
living together, 16.8% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families.
29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.6% under the age
of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 23.6% from 25 to 44, 25.6% from 45 to
64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
39 years. For every 100 females there were 96.7 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,108, and the
median income for a family was $33,264. Males had a median income
of $39,688 versus $19,483 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$15,156. About 21.2% of families and 26.1% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 38.2%
of those under age 18 and 11.3% of those age 65 or over.
Major employment in the city is supported by the BNSF Railway
(formerly the Santa Fe Railroad
). The depot has been a
terminal (crew change point) for the railway since the late 1800s.
The railroad company has been the city's main employment source for
over a century.
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of 30.2 mi²
(78.2 km²). 29.8 mi² (77.2 km²) of it is land and 0.4 mi²
(1.1 km²) of it (1.36%) is water.
smaller nearby communities of Bullhead City, Arizona, Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and Laughlin, Nevada have in recent years become larger communities than
In the state
Needles is located in the 18th Senate
District, represented by
Republican Roy Ashburn
, and in the 34th Assembly
District, represented by
Republican Connie Conway
Needles is located in California's 41st
, which has a Cook PVI
of R +9 and is
represented by Republican Jerry
.While Needles falls within all Republican districts due
to gerrymandering, the city itself falls into Democratic territory
with the March 9th 2009 voter registration totals for the city
- American Independent: 104
- Democratic: 907
- Libertarian: 8
- Non Partisan: 430
- Peace and Freedom: 9
- Republican: 624
- City Total: 2,082
In 2008, the city put forward a proposal to be annexed to Nevada or
to exempt itself from San Bernardino County and create its own
county due to a conflict over funding a public hospital. The
proposal needs approval from the United States Congress
, both states,
and the populace of the town.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides
daily service to Needles, operating its Southwest
Chief between Chicago and Los
Angeles that arrives between midnight to 2am.
Transit service to the Needles area is provided by Needles Area
John Lorimer was the first mayor of
John's son Robert Burns Lorimer established the first
Volunteer fire department.
Needles is served under contract with the San Bernardino County
Fire Department. Fire Station 31 serves as the administrative
offices for fire protection to the City of Needles and houses three
Type I Engine companies and one Water Tender. The station is
staffed with one paid officer augmented by limited-term
firefighters and paid-call firefighters living in the
Needles schools are part of the Needles Unified School
. The school district is one of the largest in the
United States in terms of area with almost in its boundaries. The
district runs from Amboy to Needles, and south to Parker Dam. It
has 1,158 students enrolled. The local Needles schools include
Katie Hohstadt Elementary School, formerly called 'D' Street School
(Grades 1–2), Vista Colorado Elementary School(Grades K–5), Needles
Middle School (Grades 6–8), Needles High School (Grades 9–12), and
the Educational Training Center (Grades 9–12).
Needles also has two private schools; the Needles Assembly of God
Christian School and Needles Seventh-Day Adventist School.
Popular culture references
- Movies/shows using locations in Needles:
- In the comic strip Peanuts,
whose creator Charles Schulz lived in
Needles as a boy, Snoopy's brother Spike lived in the desert outside Needles.
He frequently heads to Needles to partake of the town's nightlife,
often running afoul of the local coyotes.
- In 2004, John Lowery (John 5),
former guitarist for Marilyn Manson, released his CD
Vertigo, in which the first track is entitled "Needles,
- The town is mentioned in the lyrics of Hoyt Axton's "Never Been To Spain"; the song was
a hit for Three Dog Night in
- Quoted in Three Dog Night's
"Never Been to Spain." Also performed by Elvis –
Well I never been to England, but I kinda like the
Well, I headed out for Las Vegas, only made it out to
Can you feel it?
Must be real.
It feels so good!
- In October 2006, two students and two teachers from Needles
High School were invited to Washington DC to meet with the Under
Secretary of Defense, in which they spoke of the new program at
Needles High School called MOCK National Security Workshop. The
students were also interviewed for the nation-wide, fifteen minute
television news show, Channel One
News, where the episode was aired on October 25.
- Needles was the main site of a 2009 UFO Hunters episode investigating a
supposed UFO Crash.
Other popular culture connections
- April 11, 1992: the 38-year old comedian Sam Kinison was
killed in a head-on car crash in Needles, California. His newlywed
wife was also critically injured.
Tony Hawk at the opening of the
Needles Skate Park on January 3rd, 2004.
- In late 2000 to early 2001, skateboard legend Tony Hawk donated $10,000 to the Needles Skate
Park, which is still in use today. Hawk was present for the grand
opening of the park in January 2004.
- Needles (and the surrounding area) was the scene for the hit
1986 post-apocalyptic computer RPG
Notable natives and residents
- Needles ponders leaving California for Nevada,
Press they also think about going to Arizona Fox News, 2008-04-19
- Needles, California (CA) Detailed Profile -
relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime,
news, sex offenders
- Sanbag public transit providers
- San Bernardino County Fire Department
- Needles Unified School District schools, Needles -
CA: charter and public schools. Needles school district - Needles
CA school district
- IMDB search results for Needles
- Mayor's Office, City of San Bernardino web