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Ehrenberg, Arizona
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Three Brothers Dewey Blankenship, Lewis B. Vann and Brice E. Vann owned Ehrenberg back in or around 1947. With a highway frontage and a river frontage their dream was to open a resort. They hand dug a well and finely opened a truck stop Cafe. Lewis B. Vann my father was the first to sell his share of the business. We purchased the Valley Motel in Blythe. While we lived in Eherenberg we went to school in Blythe as this was the nearest town with a school. Oh the stories that I can tell you about the days that we lived in Eherenberg are endless. The adobe ruins still stood while we had the property. I am presently writing a book with one chapter dedicated to our life while living in Eherenberg. I have photos of the truck stop with 18 wheelers of the day stopping. You can still see the old bridge that span the Colorado during the period. We had a wall with photos of our regular drivers and their riggs. The drivers always got a big kick out of looking over the wall of photographs and discussing their friends and what they were doing during that period of time. We had slot machines that drew another crowd of floks from close who enjoyed pulling a handle or two while enjoying their meal. We had some camping spots and river recreation but were just getting started when my dad Lewis decided to go into business for himself. - Dr. Robert Nighthawk Vann


It was during the summer of 1947 that construction started on the Ehrenberg well. With a frontage on the Colorado River the water table should not be that deep. The Mayors of Ehrenberg Dewy, Lewis and Brice purchased the concrete sections of tubing that they decided to use for the well casing. Not having the funds to hire the job to be done the three decided to hand dig the well themselves. The summer was hot. If a piece of metal was lying out in the direct sun you could cook your breakfast on it in no time at all. Dad would say "it is hotter out there than the hinges of Hell". They would have breakfast early and by 6 AM they were back at work digging the well. They were getting pretty deep I guess but as I recall around 60 feet or so. It was dad's turn at digging so he was down in the well with a shovel and digging bar. Uncle Dewey was at the top level raising and lowering the bucket as it would get full of mud. For by now the water had already started seeping into the well. That of course kept things a little more comfortable down in the well digging. For the one stuck with the duty of tending to the raising and lowering of the bucket this was a much different story. With temperatures in the desert soaring in the neighborhood of 110 in the shaded areas if you could find any and being equipped with only artificial shade it did not take long for things to get pretty miserable. As earlier mentioned we were located pretty close to the old bridge that crossed the river. The Arizona inspection station was just a short distance from where the well was being dug, Dewey had pulled the bucket up left it on the ground above and Lewis down in the well. He decided to take a little stroll up to the inspection station where they had air-conditioning and of course always a fresh batch of lemonade and/or orange juice made from the fruit taken from the people crossing the border from California into Arizona. Dewey and the rangers were kicking back drinking lemonade and enjoying the comforts of air-conditioning while back at the well Lewis had been yelling up to Dewey to lower the bucket. At first Lewis just thought that Dewey may have had to go and relieve himself and would be back in just a few minutes. Unfortunately the minutes dragged on into a half-hour to 45 minutes of waiting and no answer to his yelling. Lewis started to get upset as he was now stranded down in the well with no means of getting out. The longer he waited the more angry he became. He finally got his elbows, feet and knees wedged against the well casing and slowly started to climb up toward the surface opening. He would get a few feet up then slip back down to the bottom of the well again. Each time he would lose his grip against the casing wall and start sliding the concrete would take skin from his elbows. He rolled his sleeves down to help to protect his skinned up elbows but it was not long before he had holes in the shirtsleeves as well as his levi's. Dewey being comfortable at the inspection station enjoying his lemonade and his visit with the on duty border rangers had pretty much forgotten about how long he had been gone leaving his brother down in the well. One of the rangers spotted Lewis coming across the desert from the direction of the well and said, "Dewey here comes Lewis. It looks like he got out of the well and it does not look like he is very happy". By the time dad arrived at the checking station he was madder than a hornet and definitely let his brother know it. After stepping in out of the hot desert temperature, his anger had somewhat warn off. He sat down and also decided to have some lemonade but he told Dewey that he could go down into the well when they returned to work. - Dr. Robert Nighthawk Vann



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