Ehrenberg, a desert community alongside the Colorado River, has a colorful history. It was founded in 1863 as Mineral City, at the site of William and Isaac Bradshaw's ferry landing. In the1870s, when the Colorado River served as a main source of transportation to the interior of the Arizona territory, Ehrenberg became a major port. Gold crazed Californians crossed the Colorado River at Ehrenberg during the great La Paz rush. The town was renamed Ehrenberg after Herman Ehrenberg, a surveyor and mining engineer, who was murdered in Dos Palmas, Calif., in 1866. By the mid-1870s, Ehrenberg was booming, with nearly 500 people living mostly in brush and adobe houses. Mike Goldwater, grandfather of former Sen. Barry Goldwater, established a mercantile store and warehouse there. The unincorporated community has a Mohave Desert setting200 feet above sea level. Nearby mountains, provide topographic relief. Ehrenberg is on Interstate 10; across the Colorado River from Blythe, Calif. Phoenix is 142 miles east.
Ehrenberg is experiencing growth with a large truck terminal being located on I-10 and a manufacturing facility located three miles east on I-10. A new gated-community development, Emerald Springs on the River, with deeded lots, is part of a 160-acre site. Additionally, a large, full-amenity KOA facility opened its doors to campers and recreational vehicles this year. Hunting and fishing are major contributors to Ehrenberg economy. River activities, along with the largest Desert Sand Drags, bring visitors from all over the country. The retail and trade service sectors benefit from numerous mobile home parks in the area. Agriculture is also important. The largest employers are Morgan Corporation with 320employees, the Flying J Truck Travel Plaza with two restaurant and145 employees, and Ehrenberg Elementary School with 34 employees. Other major employers are the John Deere facility, R.W. West & Sons, El Paso Natural Gas, Bureau of Reclamation and Wilber Ellis Co.
Ehrenberg has the Colorado River on one side and the colorful desert/mountain view on the other side. The river offers visitors a variety of water sports ranging from fishing to speedboat racing. Campgrounds, mobile home parks, an off-road vehicle staging area complete with tables and restrooms, and other overnight accommodations are available along the river and in the Ehrenberg area. Southward, off U.S. 95, rise the Kofa Mountains. The major attraction is Palm Canyon, a tight gorge in those peaks. The home of bighorn sheep and Arizona's only native palms, it is reached via a steep but rewarding climb. Farther south juts 3,793-foot Castle Dome Peak, a regional landmark. Less than two miles north of Ehrenberg lie the remains of the early-day La Paz, which was at one time considered for the capital of Arizona. La Paz was flooded in the late 1800s or early 1900s, and the population moved down river to Ehrenberg, which itself suffered a population exodus in the early 1900s.