The town of Ehrenberg, Arizona was settled in the mid 1850’s by Herman Ehrenberg. The town never grew to be very large, but by the 1870’s the population was around 230 and hosted a hotel, and stage stop. It was also the landing dock for steamboats along the Colorado River with freight to be hauled over the barren desert to Prescott, Arizona. Not much remains of the original town today. With the addition of Interstate 10 and realignments of old US 60 and 95, the large stone pyramid monument marking the old pioneer cemetery is barely visible from the road.
Known as the Monument to the Unknown Dead, the significance of the old graveyard seemed to be lost on the agenda of most modern day travelers. Cross country travelers from another era sighted the lonely cemetery in the days when the two lane highway passed alongside it. They often chose to stop to explore and give the place a closer look. Some visitors were impressed by its history and the significance of the nameless mounds of rocks.
Vandals carved names on to the old wooden headboards and monuments. Some tried to steal the tombstones in the unattended cemetery or scanned the soil in hopes of finding a lost relic or two. These days the Ehrenberg Chamber of Commerce is attempting to preserve and maintain the landmark cemetery.
Ehrenberg’s boot hill was never anything very fancy. There are no humorous epitaphs, no monstrous tombstones, or souvenir shops near by like some boot hills graveyards around the country. Most of the tombstone markers in this cemetery are homemade weathered crosses and headboards. Every mound in the burial ground is there as a symbol of Ehrenberg’s past pioneers and lonely travelers who died on the trail.
There has been rumored that ghosts are plenty in the old cemetery. Ghost lights have been spotted floating over tombstones and the spirit energy is strong. Whispers, tobacco odors and orbs all have been captured after dark. Some witnesses have even spotted the ghost of a little girl dressed in Arizona territorial garb darting back and forth near the cemetery gates.
The cemetery dates to about 1862 with the last burial being in 1988. There are about 40 gravesites, most without markers. Wood crosses mark the remaining graves covered with stones. It is said that one grave contains the remains of a horse and its former ghostly rider.
From Phoenix, take I-10 West and exit at Ehrenberg (Exit 1) and drive to the Ehrenberg – Parker Hwy. Turn left and proceed to the cemetery about one half mile on your left. Watch for flag pole.
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Debe Branning [email protected]