An important piece of state and local history was recognized Feb. 8 when the Arizona Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated a plaque at the site of the Empire Flat Landing in La Paz County Park.
The plaque recognized the role transportation on the Colorado River and mining in the area had in opening the Arizona Territory to development and settlement.
The plaque was a project begun by Marilou Beaver Fellman, ASDAR State Regent. She said the aims of the DAR include promoting patriotism, historical preservation and securing America’s future through education. She said the project met all three aims.
Fellman said the process took about two years, and it involved working with local entities like La Paz County as well as federal entities like the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation. They also had to go through a historical verification process before the project was approved by the DAR national office.
“I did not do this alone,” she said. “This was a team effort.”
Fellman especially thanked the parks employees who moved the rock the plaque is mounted on to its location. She said that was not an easy job.
Jo Beaver Andress, ASDAR Honorary State Regent, gave a history of Empire Flat Landing. It began in 1861 when gold was discovered in the area. This set off a gold rush, and there were soon many mines and settlements along the Colorado River. The ore from these mines was moved by wagon down the washes to the Colorado River, where it was loaded onto steamboats for transport to smelters in San Francisco.
Empire Flat was considered an ideal landing site, as it had a gradual beachfront entrance for mooring and was easily accessible for loading and unloading cargo. It was an important part of the development of the river, as boats took out ore and brought in supplies, food, mail, equipment, miners and settlers.
The site was in operation until the 1930s. By then, the building of dams on the Colorado River meant it could no longer be used as a transportation corridor.
Guest speakers for the dedication included State Sen. Sonny Borelli, La Paz County District 2 Supervisor Duce Minor and Parker Mayor Dan Beaver. They all spoke of the need to remember our collective history.
“If we don’t know where we’ve been, we won’t know where we’re going,” Borrelli said.
The DAR currently has 185,000 members. They are open to any woman over the age of 18 who can trace her lineage to a patriot who fought in the American Revolutionary War.
The Empire Flat Landing historical plaque is located next to the boat ramp at La Paz County Park, which is located seven miles north of Parker on Riverside Drive.