Needles in San Bernardino County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
National Old Trails
Erected 1978 by State Department of Parks and Recreation, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, City of Needles, Counties of San Bernardino and Mojave, E Clampus Vitus and San Bernardino County Museum Assoc. (Marker Number 781.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus, and the Mojave Road (Old Government Road) marker series.
Location. 34° 51.061′ N, 114° 36.586′ W. Marker is in Needles, California, in San Bernardino County. Marker is on North K Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. In Needles exit I-40 at River Road and turn left onto Needles Highway. Drive east about 1 mile and turn left on "K" Street. Drive towards the bridge. The Plaque is on the California side of the bridge on the north side of "K" Street. Marker is in this post office area: Needles CA 92363, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 12 miles of this Needles El Garces Train Station (approx. 0.8 miles away); Oatman (approx. 8.1 miles away in Arizona); History of the Fort Mojave Tribe (approx. 11.5 miles away in Nevada); Von Schmidt State Boundary Monument (approx. 11.7 miles away); a different marker also named Von Schmidt State Boundary Monument (approx. 11.7 miles away).
More about this marker. The existing bridge was built in 1978 near the site of the old Needles Ferry, the original National Old Trails crossing of the Colorado River at Needles. In 1914 a flood destroyed the Needles Ferry and the Red Rock Railroad Bridge was planked for vehicular traffic to cross the river. In 1916 the Old Trails Arch Bridge opened and was the longest 3-hinged arch bridge in the U.S.A. Today the Interstate 40 bridge carries the bulk of auto traffic.
SOURCE: Billy Holcomb Chapter 1069 35th Anniversary Plaque Book by Phillip Holdaway
Regarding National Old Trails. This site was designated as California Registered Historical Landmark No. 781 on November 11, 1962.
Statement of Significance:
An old Indian trail, still visible in some places, ran roughly parallel to the Colorado River on the California side. This is the route followed by Garcés and his Mojave guides in 1776 and by Jedediah Smith
Also see . . .
1. Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo Garcés. He was born at Morata del Conde, Spain on April 13, 1738. Upon arrival in the New World he was assigned to San Xavier del Bac in 1768, he explored the Gila and Colorado River Valleys, both down the Colorado to the Gulf of California and up it to the Grand Canyon and overland to the Hopi villages. He accompanied Juan Bautista de Anza part way in both 1774 and 1775-76 expeditions through what is now Arizona and California (Submitted on July 19, 2010.)
2. Jedediah Smith. Jedediah Smith is probably the most famous of all "Mountain Men" -- those fur-clad, grizzled individuals who were first to explore the American West in search of pelts and adventure. He was the first American (after the Astorians) to cross west over the Continental Divide, rediscovering South Pass, and the first American to traverse California's rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains. He was also first to open the coastal trade route from California to Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River. (Submitted on July 19, 2010.)
Categories. • Exploration • Notable Places •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 18, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 1,025 times since then and 46 times this year. Last updated on December 18, 2011, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 18, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. 4, 5. submitted on July 21, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.