Downtown Needles, CA: Man’s vision of “America’s Newest Tourist Stop.”

Downtown Needles, CA: Man’s vision of “America’s Newest Tourist Stop.”

Vision for a moment, a place where families can relived together their childhood memories, a place where sports history is shared for a new generation of athletes, a place where tourist stop in downtown to enjoy shopping and entertainment a long a beautiful pedestrian promenade, that’s what one man would like see happen in Downtown Needles, California.

ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary Lopez recently spoke to Mr. Bill Collier about his vision of “America’s Newest Tourist Stop,” starting with first by establishing a Childhood Memories Museum and Bicycle Racing Relics U.S.A. Museum inside the El Garces Train Depot.

Bill tells ZachNews that the idea of wanting to establish a museum in the community began a long time.

“I was in business for 35 years plus in the Los Angeles, California area and decided with his sister to do a museum. So we came over to Needles, California and purchased some land, and been here for over 20 years, and while I was here, I kept seeing the El Garces Train Depot empty for the last 30 years or so well coming back and forth through this area,” said Bill.

Bill tells ZachNews that he talked to the City of Needles, tries a few years ago and nothing came from it, then a friend of his ran into the mayor of Needles, who mention he would like to talk to him about doing something in Downtown Needles, California.

“I met with the mayor of Needles, and explained to him what my ideas where; to bring my antiques into the El Garces on the bottom floor,” said Bill.

** Picture from ZachNews: **

Bill talked to ZachNews about his collection that he would like to have inside the proposed museum.

– Bicycles:

** Picture from ZachNews: **

Bill tells ZachNews that he has over 350 bicycles, from 1860’s of boneshaker and penny farthings bicycles including a 1863 Penny Farthing made of all wood, BMX bicycles, and older race bikes and memorabilia from Chris Horner, Kent Bostick, Greg LeMond, Tony Cruz, Rebecca Twigg and Lance Armstrong just to name a few.

Bill’s collection of bicycles have traveled to major sports and cycling events, bringing a large gathering of people in amazed and wondered at his collection.

– Model Railroad:

Bill tells ZachNews that he has a collection of HO and Lionel model trains.

In his proposal he presented to the City of Needles, Bill would like to do a 20 or 25 by 30 or 35 model train layout of the City of Needles, that would have the El Garces/Harvey House and the old roundhouse, all to show how the committee all began many years ago, I would love to do that type of a layout.

– Pedal Cars:

** Picture from ZachNews: **

Bill tells ZachNews that he has a collection of pedal cars, 300 pedal cars from as far back since 1880’s to the present day.

– Antique Dolls:

Bill tells ZachNews that he has a collection of antique dolls, so detail that people think they were real.

– Native American Artifacts and Dolls:

** Picture from ZachNews: **

Bill tells ZachNews that he has a collection of Native American artifacts, including Mohave Indian artifacts, including jewelry with wonderful bead work.

Bill also has a collection of Hopi Kachina dolls and Zuni Kachina dolls as well as art work from many different Indian tribes; which Bill tells ZachNews is one of the things that I started collecting many years agos because I appreciate art, and that means I’m talented in many of the things I can do.

“When I see an artist put something together as simple as a Kachina doll from the 1800’s and make it to life – that’s with their hands, that impresses me so much,” said Bill.

** Picture from ZachNews: **

In addition, Bill tells ZachNews that he has a collection of art works from Disney and Warner Bros. as well as Asian Artifacts, Knick Knacks and much more.

Bill wants to place his collection into the bottom floor area of the El Garces Train Depot, making uses of the space that remains empty.

** Pictures from ZachNews: **

Along with his proposal for the museum, Bill want to help in making the El Garces Train Depot, Santa Fe Park and the surrounding downtown store front area get more tourist into the area instead of just driving through on tour buses or stopping into town just for gasoline.

Bill suggested the idea of doing some sort of a pedestrian-friendly outdoor downtown area along Front Street and G Street, something similar to what Glendale, California did with there outside Americana at Brand.

** Picture from Americana at Brand via Facebook: **

Americana at Brand is a large shopping, dining, entertainment and residential complex with upscale shops, restaurants, a movie theater and a public park with outdoor fountain, all built along a pedestrian friendly street and a small a trolley system, bringing in thousands of locals and tourists to this outdoor pedestrian mall and entertainment area.

Bill wants the anybody who supports this proposed Childhood Museum and Racing Relics USA Museum to help by calling the City of Needles at: 1 (760) 326-2113 or message the City of Needles at: and show your support.

Bill hopes that officials from the City of Needles and those wanting to help make Downtown Needles, California into “America’s Newest Tourist Stop” will reach out to him and work together to get things moving forward for this ‘Gateway Into California’ community.

** For more information on his collection or to talk about the proposed childhood museum, please contact Bill at: 1 (818) 523-6084 or email Bill at: **

More information regarding Bill’s collection of bicycles and the proposed childhood museum can be found at the following websites and social media pages:

– Facebook (Childhood Museum):

– Website (Racing Relics USA):

** Picture Above from ZachNews: **

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