A Lutheran church served the population in Engels.
When the Volga German colonies were founded, Engels was known as Pokrovsk. It was a commercial center located on the left bank of the Volga River across from Saratov.
Pokrovsk was founded in 1747 by ethnic Ukranians, and it is referred to as the Pokrovsk Ukranian Quarter in the 1798 Census of the Volga German colonies.
Over the years, Pokrovsk became the center of much of the German culture on the Volga and was known by the German name of Kasakenstadt. It had a population of 22,000 in 1897. By 1904, percent of the population was German.
In 1924, Pokrovsk became the capital of the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and in 1931 was renamed in honor of Friedrich Engels. It is still called Engels today.
In 1965, a bridge was constructed across the Volga River to connect Engels to Saratov.
Engels is the home of the State Historical Archives of the Volga Germans.