Parker, Arizona

The town site of Parker was planned and laid out in 1908.

PARKER, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Nestled on the banks of the Colorado River, the Town of Parker began as a point on the river that served as a shipping station for freight that made it's way up and down the Colorado by steamboat.

Steam paddle wheel boat

From 1852 until 1909, when the Laguna Diversion Dam was completed, paddle wheel boats delivered goods and people up the Colorado river from Yuma to points on shore along the way. 

Early image of Parker, Arizona

An early image of river life in Parker, Arizona. 

During the 19th century, from 1852 up until the railroad made it's way to Arizona, the most economical way to get goods into the territory was by shipping it, literally. Materials from the east were loaded ships to sail around South America then up into the Gulf of Mexico. From the Colorado River delta, goods were loaded on paddle wheel steamboats for a ride up the river, making stops at points on shore along the way. The town of Parker was first knows as Parker's Landing.

Historic photo of Parker

The town of Parker, Arizona, circa 1942.

Parker is named after Ely Parker, who was the Commissioner of Indian Affairs at the time. Appointed to office by President Grant in 1869, Parker served in this post until 1871. He was the first Native American to hold the position.

Ely Parker

The Town of Parker is named after Ely Parker, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1869 until 1871. He was the first Native American to hold the position.

The small community, post office and all, moved upstream about 4 miles in 1905 current location when a railroad bridge was built over the Colorado. The site where Parker was laid out was a planned railroad stopover, watering and shipping station. The railroad ran through the center of the town. In 1908 the town was laid out and, lots were auctioned off in 1910.

Historic Town of Parker

Photo of the Colorado River Supply Co. owned by Mr. Marsh located in Parker prior to 1916.

The Parker was officially incorporated as a town in 1948. On New Year's Day 1983, the Town of Parker became the county seat for the newly formed La Paz County.



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Content Producer

Eric is an assignment editor and content producer with AZ Family-3TV & CBS 5 News. Read more about Eric in his bio.

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